The Beck Center for Veterans has been awarded a $52,679 grant as part of the CARES Act for veterans behavioral health and the Department of Human Services of Arkansas. Dr. Evette Allen Moore, executive director, Multicultural Affairs and Inclusive Excellence, and Lynda Nash, director of the Beck Center for Veterans, said the grant will help with needs.
“News of this grant was met with great excitement as we are able to intentionally address veterans and their families affected by COVID-19,” said Moore. “The Beck Center for Veterans staff was working on ways to increase or enhance some services and this grant was a welcome addition to help fulfill this need. I am enthusiastic about the additional services such as the laptop loan program that highlights and supports the need for access to technology. This grant certainly adds much-needed financial support to the work of the center, veterans and their families.”
The Beck Center is a program that includes onsite and offsite individual therapy, psychoeducation groups, therapy groups, support group services for dependents and caregivers, and service dog training for military veterans attending Arkansas State. Currently, the center is aiding veterans from Craighead, Greene, Cross, Lawrence, Randolph, Mississippi, Clay, Poinsett and White counties. However, veterans from other areas are welcome to participate.
The grant will be used to provide various services to Arkansas veterans who are transitioning into student life at Arkansas State University. The funding will assist veterans and their families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and will continue services to those who are isolated due to lack of transportation, social anxiety, mental health diagnosis and other issues associated with the pandemic.
This includes virtual reality treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and group therapies. Also, scholarships for training specific to veterans’ needs will be available to recipients providing training and workshops.
Nash said the grant includes the purchase of household goods and laptops for loan to offsite veterans in Veterans Village, a partnership with the city of Jonesboro and Arkansas State University, to provide housing and programs to address veteran homelessness and develop work stations for those who do not have access to a computer or the internet. The use of the laptops enables veterans to access Veterans Administration benefits and programs to reorder medications, meet with medical providers and file claims.
A portion of the funds will be used to support owner-based service dog training in the Beck Center Battle Buddies: Paws for Vets Service Dog program. Studies show that the presence of a service dog can increase patience, impulse control, emotional regulation, the ability to display affection, and decrease emotional numbness. It also improves sleep and decreases depression, startle responses, and the need for pain medications.
Also, a basic food bank has been maintained for veterans that are at risk for hunger. Restocking is necessary because of COVID requirements and specific needs of student veterans during summer months.