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Meet LaShara Perry. If you’re a veteran or active duty Soldier in need of mental health counseling, she can help.

As a veterans outreach program specialist, Perry is the point of contact for new patients at the Huntsville Vet Center, located at 415 Church St. in downtown Huntsville. The center is for veterans and any active duty Soldier who has been deployed to hazardous or combat areas.

“This is another option besides going to the Veterans Affairs clinic and it is completely confidential,” she said.

Whether it’s relationship trouble or a new transition from military to civilian life, the Huntsville Vet Center can help.

“I’m a veteran and we understand completely how different it can be to lose the structure and organization of the military,” Perry said. “We understand because we’ve been through it and we want to help others get through it as much as we can.”

The Huntsville Vet Center falls under the umbrella of the Veterans Affairs Hospital.

“There are four VA facilities within Huntsville alone,” she said. “So, we just wanted to remind people that we are here, this is what we do and who we help.”

The main focus at the Huntsville Vet Center is making sure that Soldiers make the transition to civilian life seamlessly.

“There can be hiccups and bumps along the road no matter what, but we can help provide tips and strategies to make it go as smoothly as possible,” she said.

Services offered also include employment education and referrals to a network of providers for benefits.

“We offer counseling in a number of areas including individual, familial, marriage, substance abuse, employment, and military sexual trauma, as well as offering counseling in a group setting for those associated with the Vietnam era or classify themselves as women veterans,” she said. “We may not deal with claims and benefits specifically, but we are able to reach out and refer individuals to the contacts we’ve established within the community to find the best point of contact for those services.”

There are eligibility requirements that must be met in order to qualify for treatment at the Huntsville Vet Center, but Perry will discuss the specifics with you prior to scheduling an appointment.

COVID-19 has forced virtual appointments, she said, but some in-person appointments are allowed by request with adequate protection face mask protection and social distancing measures. The best way to reach Perry is by calling 205-777-2287.

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