A partnership to help veterans in the MU community was announced Monday, along with opening the new Mizzou Veterans Wellness Center.
The collaboration between the Truman Veterans’ Hospital and the University of Missouri School of Law Veterans Clinic is designed to make access to resources easier for MU student veterans, faculty, staff and their families.
The Mizzou Veterans Wellness Center will provide veterans with clinical mental health services and referrals to other resources. The center is located in the MU School of Law Veterans Clinic in Hulston Hall.
Law students at the MU Veterans Clinic in Memorial Union already help veterans and their families navigate the Department of Veterans Affairs‘ benefits system along with licensed professional attorneys.
The new Veterans Wellness Center will give space for VA specialists to work with veterans‘ mental health needs and help them with case management and enrollment assistance.
Randall Rogers, a psychologist in the behavior health department at Truman Veterans’ Hospital, said life on campus can be more challenging for student service members and veterans compared with their nonveteran peers.
“They tend to be older when they enroll in college and more likely to be married and have children or be single parents,” Rogers said.
Lyrissa Lidsky, dean of the MU School of Law, said students can be trained at the center to serve veterans compassionately.
“Twenty veterans a day die from suicide, and we want this partnership to reduce this,” Lidsky said.
Kevin Owens, 28, a veteran and an MU student in meteorology, said he has struggled to balance education and mental health.
“I went to Arkansas before this, where I had to put my education before my mental health,” said Owens, who is vice president of the Mizzou Student Veterans Association. “Here at Mizzou, I don’t have to do that. I can just walk over and get the help I need.”
“It is time to serve them like they’ve served us,” Lidsky said.
MU serves more than 285 student veterans, Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said during Monday’s announcement.