Mental health facility opens for valley veterans in need

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Valley veterans dealing with mental health issues now have a new place to turn to.

Veterans say these specific services have been sorely needed. They believe a new Fresno facility can be effective in combating the growing problem of homelessness among veterans.

The thoughts were with those valley veterans who struggle in life after giving so much for our country. "Maybe start them on the way back, but this is just a beginning because every day is a beginning," Smokey Rickerd with AMVETS Department of California. "There's a lot of people with PTSD."

The brand-new building was unveiled at the Fresno VA Medical Center People poured through the doors to see how this facility will offer veterans mental health services.

The second floor will assist homeless veterans. "There's a lot of guys that are in another world," veteran Bob Sandoval explained. "They don't know that there's really help out there for them and they're afraid to come in."

The facility aims to change that and to get more veterans off the streets.

The psychosocial recovery rehab center will treat vets with serious mental illness. "It's more intensive out-patient mental healthcare if you will so they come in for a day, day treatments that type of thing. Group therapy," director of the medical center Stephen Bauman said.

Veterans say it's important to have someone to talk to. Not to sympathize but to empathize with those who've endured similar war experiences. "A lot of people don't know about it," veteran Alfred Zaragoza. "They say 'well it's not for me but it's for everybody.' Men, women so I really appreciate what the VA is doing here."

It was named the Independence Building because it intends to return a level of independence back to veterans.
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