Every year, approximately 200,000 active-duty servicemen and women return to civilian life. Transitions for Veterans can be especially challenging due to shifting from the collective culture of military service to a more individualized role in society. In fact, studies indicate that 44% to 72% experience high levels of stress during the transition from military to civilian life.
Data also suggests that approximately half of those who recently separated from military service may not immediately connect with available resources, benefits and services. Without support, more complex behavioral health concerns might emerge. It’s a growing concern, and it’s the reason why Family Care Center continues its work to transform mental health care through its unique understanding of the military community.
Founded in 2016, the first Family Care Center clinic was opened by Dr. Charles “Chuck” Weber, a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and psychiatrist, with a mission to serve military families, Veterans and first responders. The company has continued to expand since then, with clinics across Colorado, Texas and Tennessee, and more on the horizon. “Our roots in providing expanded mental health care to the armed services came from a shared sense of duty, honor and dedication.” Dr. Weber said. “We’re not just providing mental health support; we’re fostering a behavioral health system of care that treats all ages in an outpatient setting.”
The organization provides a range of treatment options that are tailored to each person. Service offerings for military and civilian families include counseling for individuals, couples and families, child play therapy and medication management. Their state-of-the-art clinics also provide additional treatment modalities, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which can be utilized for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. TMS is an FDA-approved treatment (since 2008) that is proven to be an effective, medication-free option for treatment resistant depression, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), smoking cessation and many other mental health disorders.
Additionally, Family Care Center clinics are 100% clinician-led and headed up by Family Care Center Chief Operating Officer Dr. Chris Ivany, former Chief of Behavioral Health for the U.S. Army and a child and adolescent psychiatrist. “Our understanding of the military culture sets us apart from other mental health care providers and uniquely enables our patients to benefit from the treatment we provide,” said Dr. Ivany.
Like Drs. Ivany and Weber, Family Care Center clinicians understand these needs and challenges, such as adjustment to life after the military or deployment, because they’ve lived it themselves or worked with the military community. This is something Eli Varney knows well as he serves patients as a licensed professional counselor in the Colorado Springs area while maintaining his 18-year-strong commitment as a member of the Army National Guard.
“Do soldier’s life trajectories change after deployment?” Varney said. “Yes. People make life-changing decisions after deployment and retirement, especially surrounding their careers. They often struggle with their purpose. Throughout their years of service, they identified as a soldier with a specific rank and title and that completely changes in the civilian world. The most common phrase I hear is, ‘I am broken, and I don’t know what is going on.’ Therapy can help them find answers.”
Varney believes that connection is the most important part of his job; he treats patients at their own pace by providing individualized treatment plans. After coming from such a structured environment with a clear purpose, it’s often the first step in taking back control of their own lives, Varney said.
Family Care Center has worked to alleviate the challenges many Veterans encounter when trying to access mental health care. They work directly with the Veterans Administration (VA) and accept TRICARE, the government health program for active-duty personnel, retirees and eligible family members. The organization has multiple clinics for convenient access, including locations near military bases and virtual appointments.