The Unique Challenges Veterans Face When They Come Home
Tim Aurora, Veteran & Program Coordinator, Operation Veterans to Social Workers, Family Connections talks with Steve Adubato about the challenges veterans face when re-entering civilian life, as well as, how his organization is providing free counseling to help veterans talk about their experiences.
"Welcome to an in-depth series we've been doing that's trying to make a difference in helping veterans across this state of New Jersey, and the surrounding states. This is part of our Help For our Heroes series. We're pleased to be joined by Tim Arora, who has served as a sergeant, United States Marine Corps. He's a veteran. Program Coordinator of Operation Veterans to Social Workers at Family Connections. Good to see you, Tim. Good to see you too Steve. Who are you joined with? That's my service dog Brian. That's your service dog? Brian? Yes. Why does he matter? He matters because I'm a disabled veteran, and he assists me with injuries I sustained overseas. Talk about the work you do every day to help veterans. So the work we do is primarily providing individual counseling, couples counseling, group counseling, and sometimes family counseling when it's needed with a child as well. And it's a free service that we offer to veterans, performed by veterans. How do people find you? Typically, it's referral by word of mouth, but we also do a very active community engagement process, either by participating in stakeholder meetings, or by meeting with other programs within the community, and usually it's a referral through something that maybe we could fill that their program can't offer. By the way, your website is up as we talk right now. Yes. Is there a geographic area you serve? We serve pretty much anyone who is in the North Jersey area, or even South or Central Jersey, if they're... if they want to come in for counseling. We have an open-door policy for that. So... you know, one of the things that came up... we had a roundtable discussion with Tim and a group of other advocates, experts, government officials, people from the foundation community, talking about how to help those who are, in fact, heroes, who have given so much to our country. And one of the issues that kept coming up, Tim, and you were a part of that discussion, is that sometimes it's hard to get veterans to, a, reach out, b, once they do to be open. Talk about it. So a lot of times, from what I experienced just as a service member, and also as a veteran, when I was taken out of service, was that there is a stigma in terms of mental health. Almost as... you don't want to be that person that goes and opens up about your service. Because? Typically, it's frowned upon within the community, or at least when I was in, but since had started to open up a..."