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Web-based counseling service Vets Prevail offered to veterans

November 11, 2009 | 12:35 pm

Veterans in need of counseling, support or information to deal with mental and emotional issues can now turn to an online, interactive program called Vets Prevail. The services are provided confidentially and free of charge.

The website allows veterans to connect with other vets through forums, blogs and multimedia content. Vets can also sign up for a six-week online mental health program tool designed to help them build resilience and readjust to life after deployment. The aim of the training is to help vets tackle negative emotions and keep the trauma of the battlefield from affecting daily life and relationships.

About 500 veterans will be able to access the training program based on funds provided by Major League Baseball and the McCormick Foundation. However, organizers aim to continue the service with additional funding.

"The current mental health care crisis facing our service members is a very real problem with very real consequences," Richard Gengler, chief executive of Prevail Health Solutions, the parent company of Vets Prevail, said in a news release. "As a veteran-owned company, we have a personal stake in the matter and intend to help all veterans that are in need without ever charging a veteran or military family member."

The acute need for mental health services in the military was highlighted by last week's Ft. Hood shootings and was detailed in the L.A. Times today in a story, column and editorial. Research shows that less than one-quarter of veterans in need of mental health services actually seek it, often due to stigma and confidentiality issues.

— Shari Roan

Photo: Families wait at Ft. Hood on Tuesday for their loved ones with the U.S. Army 1st Cavalry Division to arrive home after a year of deployment in Iraq. The unit was the first to return home since U.S. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 30 at the base. Credit: Joe Raedle / Getty Images.