Mission Accomplishments Since VWI’s December 2016 Inception
Ongoing social media campaigns centered on Veteran mental health and available resources.
Ongoing facilitation of a free caregiver support group in Port Isabel, TX for both veterans and civilians for the past year. Submitted Wellmed grant application to sustain and extend services.
Obtained $1500 Walmart Community Grant, which was used to provide clinical training in an evidence-based treatment for community mental health providers in the RGV.
Aug 2017 - Assisted with a summer camp for children of Veterans held at the Vet Drop-In Center in Harlingen. Continued plans to expand VWI involvement.
Engagement in opportunities to provide veteran mental health education, including Dr. Sargeant serving as the start line speaker on Veteran suicide at the STAIVA’s 3rd Annual Ruck For Life.
October 2017 VWI Fundraiser for Suicide Prevention and Veteran Wellness at the Port Isabel American Legion Hall. Upwards of 85 civilians and Veterans were in attendance . VWI conducted interactive-educational activities on Veteran suicide prevention and mental health awareness. Sponsors/Vendors included; American Legion Post 498, American Legion Auxillary, Veteran Females United, Vet Drop-In Center (Texas Tropical Behavioral Health), Doctors Hospital Renaissance, American Military Support, and Madre Bay Consulting and Psychological Services, PLLC. Numerous businesses in South Padre Island and Port Isable donated raffle prizes and posted marketing material s in their establishment.
Dr. Cooks-Allen and Dr. Sargeant attended the San Antonio Combat PTSD Conference, held by the STRONG STAR Consortium and the Consortium to Alleviate PTSD. This 2nd annual national conference focused on the assessment, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of combat-related PTSD and common co-occurring conditions.
VWI partnered with PsychArmor Institute, which provides web-based education and tools to help Americans effectively engage with military service members, Veterans, and their families.
March 15-17, 2018, VWIoffered intensive training to community mental health providers and one Veteran Peer Specialist from across the Rio Grande Valley.
Dr. Diane Castillo, President of the American Psychological Association Trauma Division provided training in a novel format, evidence-based PTSD treatment protocol during a three-day training program at a fraction of the normal cost at $200/person (of note, this type of training is typically $1500+ in addition to $100+ hourly consultation fees. VWI offered this discount due to its fundraising efforts to date and to Dr. Castillo’s belief in VWI’s mission).
Trainees will facilitate therapy groups (consisting of 3 group members and two therapists) after completion of training with ongoing supervision and consultation by Dr. Castillo. Pre-requisite online course content will be provided by PsychArmor. Madre Bay Consulting & Psychological Services, PLLC will hold groups at the MBCPS office in Port Isabel and at the Vet Drop-In Center in Harlingen during weekend or evening hours starting soon.
Co-hosted 2018 Veteran Child Summer Camp 2018. Currently seeking grants to expand program to provide additional services to children of Veterans.
Our mission is to help our local communities to better understand and support the unique and diverse life experiences of Veterans - so as to provide culturally-competent service and support. All VWI services to date have been on a voluntary basis, which is neither sustainable nor subject to growth and generativity; therefore, VWI will continue to partner with the community, local and national non-profits, and volunteers to apply for grant funding during upcoming grant cycles.
By 2020, VWI aims to begin outreach to civilian employment agencies and local businesses to help them understand the potential contributions of Veterans to their companies, and to foster new relationships and more supportive work environments, and increase gainful employment opportunities by helping businesses understand the value of hiring Veterans.
Veteran Wellness Initiative (VWI) is a 501(c)3 organization established in 2016. VWI supports evidence-based, culturally-competent Veteran-centered services, including family support services, which are a critical componenat of this shared initiative. Our goal is to enhance the availability, accessibility, and quality of services to Veterans in the Rio Grande Valley. To this end, VWI supports Veteran-centered mental health education and advocacy efforts, generates training opportunities for health care professionals, families, other service providers and agencies in the community. We are dedicated to improving the quality of services for Veterans in the community.