Wheeling Vet Center creating a network of healing for service members

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Wheeling, W.Va. (WTRF) – It’s not an exaggeration to say that military members carry the world on their shoulders.

Whether it’s supporting their fellow servicemen or the everyday citizens who rely on their work, they deal with pressure that no outsider can understand.

And oftentimes—they keep their troubles inside themselves.

When you’re being stressed out, you don’t complain about it, and you don’t say anything about it, and you don’t pull yourself offline, because people depend on you.

John Looney, Director of Wheeling Vet Center

The Vet Center in Bethlehem specializes in helping veterans who have PTSD or suicidal ideations.

They say it often isn’t combat itself that creates internal pain for those who experience it—it’s the feelings afterwards.

Feelings of guilt or regret, even over things that are uncontrollable.

If you’re driving on a road and you don’t see a mine, you’re not supposed to see it. If you drive across it you can’t blame yourself.

John Looney, Director of Wheeling Vet Center

While the increase in suicide is being seen in active duty military, the rate among veterans is actually decreasing.

Once they return to civilian life, their families will often step in to get them the help they need.

They also have other veterans to talk through their troubles in a more direct way.

Veterans are very insightful, and they’ll pull them aside and they’ll say ‘look, you’ve got to pay attention to this. You’ve got to do better about that.’ And it hits them between the eyes. I mean we listen to our brothers and sisters.

John Looney, Director of Wheeling Vet Center

He compares these talks to a coach pulling a player off a team who is over-extending himself—an act of love that will help not only the team, but the player who could end up getting hurt.

The center’s community is there to ease vets back into normal life—and with the hope offered by both their personal and military families, they can conquer any trauma that lingers on.

It’s unfortunate that not many people know about us. We’ve been here over 30 years, but I guess it’s just hard for people to talk about it.

John Looney, Director of Wheeling Vet Center

The Wheeling Vet Center offers counseling for individuals, groups and even married couples.

You can get help from their decades of service by calling 304-232-0587.

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