New veterans clinic offers therapy to military members, families

LAKEWOOD, Wash. — A new clinic in the South Sound is bringing vital therapy to military members and their families.

“It’s amazing to welcome the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic to the best state in the Union, Washington state,” said Maj. Scotty Smiley.

Support for the state’s newest veterans clinic comes from a heroic veteran himself.

“Veterans are still fighting a fight even when they come back to America and they still need help,” said Smiley.

Smiley spoke at the grand opening of Lakewood’s Cohen Veterans Network Clinic.

Smiley is the military’s first blind active duty blind officer. He served 10 years after losing his sight when a suicide car bomber blew himself up in Iraq.

“The last thing I remember seeing was a single man in a vehicle and then my world went black,” he said.

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Smiley said the resource will work wonders for Washington veterans. The clinic offers comprehensive mental health services to military members across the state.

“It serves both the veteran and their families. It serves regardless of their ability to pay, regardless of their discharge status, and, if someone’s in crisis, they can get help today. They’re not waiting 30 days for an appointment, they’re seeing a counselor today. Critically important,” said Pierce County Executive Bruce Dammeier.

“For us, a veteran is one day of service and you see services at this clinic. There’s no discharge service requirement, there’s no combat experience requirement and we also serve the family, but it’s family as defined by the veteran,” said Clinic Director Nichole Ayres.

She said the goal is to break down barriers and support all post-9/11 military families with mental health services and state of the art technology in an inviting space where they can feel safe.

“As a military spouse and a mental health professional, this clinic is a dream,” said Ayres.

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Valley Cities is the 11th clinic of its kind in the country. They plan to have 25 clinics across the nation by 2020.