SAN ANTONIO - Mental health professionals from across the region are learning how to better serve military members and their families.

"Serving a veteran and their family is a community responsibility. We are really wanting to be a part of creating a pipeline of providers who are competent to serve this population," said Kat Cole, director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic.

It's a population with its own culture and lifestyle, and in San Antonio alone more than 150,000 veterans live in the community.

"That's why we call it military-informed care, and it's cultural training to give you an idea of how to work with the military culture," said Aubrie Wade with the Texas Veterans Commission.

The Texas Veterans Commission partnered with the Cohen Military Family Clinic to offer free training to mental health providers. It focused on different aspects like PTSD, family dynamics and traumatic brain injuries.

Gregory Morton works with Bexar County's Military Veteran Peer Network.

"I did 20 years in the military, United States Army. It helps civilians learn about the military and notice some of the things that we have done for this country. We sometime try to tell them, times are going to be hard, different times. They're very strong, they go through a lot. They're separated from their family members so they have to take on a lot of responsibility for themselves," Morton said.

Something that makes the Cohen Clinic just a little bit different is that they're available to service veterans and their family members regardless of discharge status and they let the veteran determine who is a family member.

The clinic is a nonprofit and focuses on serving post-9/11 veterans and their families at a low cost. That's a group that makes up 26 percent of the veterans in San Antonio.

"There's not a lot of service for them in the local area. So we're here to supplement the services from the VA and TVC and other veterans service organizations," Cole said.

Training sessions like this are offered across the state at any given time.

"However much anybody wants to do it really. It's kind of based on the needs that I'm going," said Wade.

A need that's not going away any time soon.  

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