SAN ANTONIO, Texas (NewsNation Now) — A first of its kind Texas facility is creating a space for veterans to come forward and receive help with no cost or questions asked.
The VA estimates that 20 veterans die by suicide each day with many more suffering from mental health issues. One of them is Javier Sandoval. Sandoval is a Marine Corps Veteran suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Sandoval was on a convoy mission to Somalia as a young marine corps solider when his crew was suddenly under attack. He ordered a return of fire and when the dust settled he had unknowingly killed 15 child soldiers.
“I have a lot of nightmares,” Sandoval said. “”I bottled it up so much where I started trying to self-medicate myself with alcohol.”
Years later, he was still struggling with the aftermath. He was homeless with no job or family.
Natasha Walden also suffers from PTSD following four deployments as an Army Intelligence Analyst.
“It could be a smell, it could be a noise, it could be something that resembles something that happened to you when you were down range,” said Walden. “It can take you right back there.”
Both are finding relief and employment at the Endeavors Veterans Center in San Antonio, Texas.
“The purpose of these clinics is to provide low, no-cost mental healthcare to veterans, their family members and now during COVID first responders and frontline healthcare workers,” said Jon Allman, CEO of Endeavors.
Allman is a former Air Force pilot and said he knows the struggles and needs of veterans. Now in the spring of 2021 this upgraded facility will provide everything from acupuncture to childcare for veterans.
“We don’t want to just see them for five or six or seven visits, we want them to change their lifestyle,” said Allman.
It’s a confidential, whole-health approach for veterans and their families, offering services and connectedness with fellow soldiers who don’t always find it easy to ask for help.
“Because you don’t want to be looked up on weak, you don’t want them to say well if you can’t handle yourself, then you can’t handle your company,” said Walden.
“I didn’t know where to go and pride kept me from asking for help,” said Sandoval. “You’re not weak because you ask for help. You’re not weak. It takes somebody strong to ask for help.”
With 25 facilities like this one being built across the country, the Endeavors team says all you have to do is reach out.