Two VA Mobile Vet Centers were deployed to the Capitol Grounds today to ensure that those impacted by the events of Jan. 6 can access support and mental health resources needed during this critical time. The two Mobile Vet Centers will provide free, easily accessible mental health resources and counseling to the U.S. Capitol Police, members of the National Guard, and any Congressional staff in crisis.
“The Mobile Vet Centers deployed on our Capitol grounds will once again show how Veterans and VA continue to step up and serve their community – not just their fellow Veterans. With the continued deployment of thousands of National Guard troops in our Capitol region, I am elated that VA has agreed to provide these invaluable and potentially lifesaving resources,” said House Veterans Affairs Chairman Mark Takano.
Professional counselors and support staff at the two Mobile Vet Center sites, located at Lot 16 of the Senate Sergeant at Arms Parking Lot and Lot 5 House Parking Lot, will provide counseling, outreach and referral services to members of the U.S. Capitol Hill Police, members of the National Guard deployed to the Capitol, or anyone in crisis beginning Feb. 1. These services are strictly confidential and at no cost to the individual.
“Our Vet Center teams often deploy to emergency or crisis situations to help fulfill VA’s Fourth Mission of caring for our communities, providing necessary counseling and connection to other community resources they may need at the time,” said VA Acting Under Secretary for Health Dr. Richard Stone. “Staff are prepared to discuss and identify solutions to addressing stress, fatigue, grief, trauma and other thoughts or feelings individuals may experience. We are a part of the communities we serve and want to be a part of the solution.”
“The United States Capitol Police is grateful for the support of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs and the Department of Veterans Affairs for helping to facilitate access to these services for our officers. The continued support of the entire Congressional community, and the nation, is of great comfort to our Department,” said U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) Acting Chief Yogananda D. Pittman.
Process for Seeking Services during the Deployment
The Mobile Vet Centers can accept walk-in appointments from 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. or if someone would like to schedule a next-day appointment, they may call the Washington, D.C. Vet Center at (202) 726-5212. Calls placed after normal business hours will be answered by the 24/7 Vet Center Call Center. Secured virtual services may also be offered by calling (202) 726-5212.
Vet Center Background
Vet Centers, including Mobile Vet Centers, provide confidential counseling, outreach and referral services to eligible Veterans, active duty service members – including members of the National Guard and Reserve components, and their families. Vet Centers are located at 300 locations, including more than 80 Mobile Vet Centers, a 24/7 Call Center and numerous access points across the nation. Mobile Vet Centers and Vet Center staff often deploy to emergency or crisis situations to help fulfill VA’s Fourth Mission of caring for our communities, providing necessary counseling and connection to other community resources they may need at the time. To find a nearest Vet Center, visit https://www.va.gov/find-locations or call 1-877- WAR-VETS (927-8387).
Jessica L. Schiefer is a communications officer for VHA’s Readjustment Counseling Service.