Services for veterans on campus today through Thursday

Veterans at NKU will get the opportunity to receive free healthcare screenings and information soon, as the Veteran Administration’s Mobile Health Clinic is on campus today.

The Veterans mobile clinic will be providing services to veterans they may not have had an opportunity to receive on their own.  The mobile clinic will be at NKU from March 26 through March 28, and is also open to veterans that don’t attend NKU.

Along with healthcare screenings and history and physical exams, the clinic will also be providing information regarding on-campus VA mental health programs, personal healthcare benefit information and a connection to the VA’s online healthcare system.  Veterans can receive these services on the second floor of the Student Union between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

NKU’s assistant director of veteran student services Dave Merriss said the mobile clinic is an opportunity for student veterans to “connect with the VA” and get in the system.

“The VA has national programs to reach out to vets, and this is part of an outreach to our campus,” said Merriss.

Merriss, whose mother was highlighted in a Veteran’s Day article last year, is also a retired Army veteran and familiar with the VA system.

“Sometimes young veterans don’t understand; the body breaks down and you don’t know where you’ll be in 10 years,” said Merriss. “It’s good for student vets to get in the system as early as possible.”

One part of what the mobile clinic will be doing is providing information on new VA mental health care programs aimed to help those veterans who may need these services, but aren’t ready to ask for it.

Mental health issues are a major concern for the Veterans Administration.  In fact, according to a February 2013 press release regarding mental health, over 1.3 million veterans required mental health care in fiscal year 2012, compared to 927,052 in 2006.

As noted in the press release, this is partly due to the VA’s “proactive” screening of veterans that may need these services.  The VA hired 3,262 mental health care professionals and administrative support staff as of January 2013 to help combat these rising numbers.

Still, many veterans may not seek out the services they need, and when coupled with the stresses of attending college, they may not get the chance.  That is where the VA mobile clinic can help; it is designed to bring the services to the veterans that can’t get to the services.

This is the first time that the VA mobile clinic has been to NKU.  The van will be parked in parking lot C and there are parking spaces provided in the Kenton parking garage for non-student veterans that are coming in from off campus.