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Your story matters: Nonprofit steps up to help veterans, first responders and their families with mental health during pandemic

Camp Freedom just outside of Carbondale is gearing up to launch more outdoor programs this fall to help those struggling with their mental health.

CARBONDALE, Pa. — It's no secret that there's been quite an uptick in patients seeking help to improve their mental health during the pandemic. It's especially true for veterans and first responders. 

To help meet the demand, one nonprofit outside of Carbondale is rolling out more free programs to help people improve their mental health.

It's called "Camp Freedom." 

Newswatch 16's Ryan Leckey visited the place on Thursday. 

Camp Freedom is dedicated to "helping heroes through outdoor adventures." 

The nonprofit is rolling out more overnight programs starting next month, including overnight stays. 

Head here to apply at their website and learn more about the group.

Camp Freedom's hours

Camp Freedom is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Location:
284 Number 7 Road,
Carbondale, PA 18407

Here's a list of other resources for help across our area. 

What they do:

According to those who run the facility, "Camp Freedom helps offset the disasters trend of isolation, drug and/or alcohol, and desperation that so many of our true heroes (vets and first responders) go through due to the trauma they have faced with peer to peer interaction, camaraderie, and outdoor adventures. 

We are able to see lives saved and transformed forever as these men and women find new purpose and mission once again in their lives."

"As they go through their trauma, their families are going through the same trauma, but from a totally different perspective. When we can get the vet or gold star family engaged in an outdoor activity (hiking, biking, walking, running, shooting, hunting, fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, sporting clays, 3D archery, and more) as a family. The healing is amazing," executive director Matt Guedes said. 

Camp Freedom by the numbers: 

  • In the fall of 2018, Camp Freedom served 49 veterans, first responders, family members, and Gold Star families. 
  • 2019, first full year, more than 700 veterans, first responders, family members of, and Gold Star families served at Camp Freedom.
  • 2020, more than 1400 veterans, first responders, family members, and Gold Star families helped by Camp Freedom.

Organizers expect to help even more in 2021. 

More resources for veterans can be found at this link.