A new mental health clinic opened in Tampa that provides free or low-cost care to post-9/11 veterans and military families.
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Aspire Health Partners is one of 14 clinics run by a national nonprofit called the Cohen Veterans Network.
Governor Ron DeSantis attended the dedication ceremony on Monday, as did Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and Medal of Honor recipient, former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts.
DeSantis praised the clinic for also welcoming members of the National Guard and Reservists, and for offering treatment to entire families.
"Not just the veteran which is obviously important, but when you have veterans deploying, it’s not just the veteran that has to deal with that, it really does affect the spouse, it affects the kids, and really it’s a team effort," he said.
Dr. Anthony Hassan, President and CEO of the Cohen Veterans Network, said the goal is to remove barriers to mental health care.
“We're going to provide free transportation to and from the clinic, we're going to have a childcare representative here in the building if you need them for your appointment,” he said.
“We have telehealth services already ready to go, first day this clinic opened they had telehealth capacity meaning we can see you in your home, you never have to leave home."
Officials with the network said they expect the clinic to serve more than 500 clients in its first year.
While it’s geared toward the nearly 60,000 post-9/11 veterans and military families in the Tampa Bay area, they say the group makes an effort to treat all veterans who ask, regardless of discharge status, length of service or combat experience.
Treatments are available for a variety of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, PTSD, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, family issues, transitional challenges, relationship problems, and child behavioral problems.
The network is working to open another clinic in Jacksonville later this year, part of its goal to have 25 clinics by 2020.