LEHIGHTON, Pa. — Inside the St. Luke's Lehighton Campus, formally known as the Gnaden Huetten Memorial Hospital, is a new space for veterans.
The Veterans Hub of Northeastern Pennsylvania opened its doors.
Christine LeClair, director of Carbon County Veterans Affairs, came up with the idea of partnering with the Scranton Vet Center.
"The Scranton Vet Center is opening a CAP, which is a community access point at the hospital here. So we will have veterans-specific, in-person counseling available at the Lehighton location every Wednesday, and we hope to expand the services in the future," said LeClair.
St. Luke's offered the workspace as part of its effort to address veterans' needs.
The space will serve veterans experiencing a variety of mental health problems.
"They come to my door, and I treat them for different things. Sometimes it is a crisis. Sometimes it's PTSD, depression, anxiety, and family problems, PTS —post-traumatic stress — drug and alcohol referrals; we could make just about anything any veteran needs. Their needs will be met here," said Denise Carey, a licensed social worker, and Scranton Vet Center director.
Officials say the new opening of the veterans hub offers more services to an area that desperately needs them.
"The county has the highest suicide rate in the Commonwealth at 27 people per 100,000," Carey said. "It's a rural area. There's a lot of factors that go with that, but obviously, it's a place we all need to be really paying attention, having every service we could possibly provide."
One of the top goals of the hub is to reduce veteran suicides.
The hub is named after Chad Peyton, a Blackhawk helicopter pilot LeClair served with, who died by suicide in May of last year.
To make an appointment, call the Scranton Vet Center at (570) 344-2676.
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