Veterans help veterans (and their families) at this unique mental health clinic

One year since the launch of the national 9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline -- the hotline has received 5 million calls and messages.
Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 5:10 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 19, 2023 at 5:55 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Cohen Veterans Network’s clinic in Mililani is staffed by military folks for military folks, but it’s not affiliated with the Department of Defense or Veterans Affairs

That gives patients more flexibility and privacy to deal with unique traumas like deployment separation, training incidents, and sexual violence, clinic officials said.

The clinic caters to the half of Hawaii’s population who have personal ties to the military.

Of its veteran patients, 30% are women.

Their experts say admitting you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, or marital or family problems is not easy -- especially if you’re in the military. This Oahu clinic understands that.

“There is stigma there is shame, there is a sense of feeling like you’re vulnerable or weak. But it’s not going to get better, unless you ask for help and go get it,” said Anthony Hassan, president and CEO of Cohen Veterans Network.

Zandra Fox, senior enlisted advisor for the Hawaii Army National Guard, said the clinic’s personnel are “also part of the community that we live here, they’re from here, and they understand like what our service members are going through.”

Hassan added: “There’s automatically inherited trust in his clinic. I want to create traffic in here. That’s about education, learning, collaboration, fun.”

The clinic is a partnership with local nonprofit Child & Family Service.

They opened in 2020 with two clinicians, and now there are 11 and a growing waitlist for services. They expect as many as 20,000 visits each year.

“We’re hiring more clinicians. The demand is really there. And that tells you that people are okay, reaching out and getting help,” said Karen Tan, Child and Family Service president and CEO.

The clinic is open to active duty and veterans, regardless of discharge status or ability to pay, and anyone a veteran identifies as a family member.

Rick Tabor says access and understanding of mental healthcare for military members has come a long way since he oversaw the mental health clinic at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station.

“The isolation, the loneliness, causes problems. So if you know somebody out there, that’s really struggling, listen, listen to listen and support them, be there for them,” Tabor said.

The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Child & Service offers in-person care at 95-1091 Ainamakua Dr. and telehealth services.

The clinic is open Monday to Thursday, from 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Friday 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Call 808-204-4020 or email to make an appointment.