New Program In WF Helps Veterans Transition

Every day, 22 veterans commit suicide in the United States.  It's a startling statistic that the nation is trying to reduce, including Texoma.

A new program in Wichita Falls called "Veterans Saving Veterans" offers help to veterans who are struggling in hopes to reduce suicide rates.

"We couldn't stand it, so we want to provide another option, a hopeful option to them," said James McGinn, Executive Director of the Wichita Falls Community Counseling Center.

All of the counselors at the Wichita Falls Community Counseling Center are veterans.  They feel they understand where the veterans are coming from since they have also been in their position.  McGinn said they speak military so it's easier for veterans to open up.

"I would never leave any veteran in combat," McGinn said, "I would always have his back so I want to do that now that we are out of the military too."

McGinn explained he went through counseling when he was leaving the military.  Through his experience, he realized he wanted to help other veterans.

He admitted coming back home after serving in the military isn't an easy transition.  McGinn said it isn't just the combat that takes its toll.

He said, "Just the daily transition from a rigid structure environment and to a position of feeling important, feeling valued."

He said it can be overwhelming and confusing for veterans.  McGinn said part of that is because veterans don't realize their value in their community.

He said, "It's really taking a step back for them and having an outside person show them all their qualities and talents."

However, two Texoma veterans said their transition wasn't as difficult for them.

Max Donley, a veteran said, "No it's amazing.  You just get back out and what are you going to do?  You got to go do something."

Another veteran, Jack McLaughlin said, "I didn't know what to put on in the morning.  I knew exactly what I was putting on when I was in the service."

McLaughlin said you had to treat it like a job.

Even though their experience wasn't as bad, it doesn't mean they don't remember their time on the battle ground.  McLaughlin said he thinks about his friends and what happened.

Making the decision to retire from the military isn't easy either.  McLaughlin said you have to think about it, but once you have made up your mind, it's a weight coming off your shoulders.

Having more resources available to veterans makes a difference, but it can be hard for some to seek out help.  For some, they were told not to talk about it and suck it up.  For others, they just don't where to turn.

The Wichita Falls Community Counseling Center said it doesn't matter what you are dealing with.  If it's a conflict, adjusting to life after serving the military, or even if you just need help, they'll have your back.

If you would like to contact them, call (940) 716-0230, or visit their website.

, Newschannel 6