Giving Grace: Soldiers and Families Embraced offers free counseling for military & veterans
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CLARKSVILLENOW) – Just like the members of the military they serve, Soldiers and Families Embraced, known as SAFE, also has a mission which is to offer free, confidential counseling for active duty, veterans, and their families.
Lantz Smith, Executive Director of SAFE, talked about the non-profit organization whose services are funded through grants and private donations.
“We’re heading into an age where people are starting to become more comfortable seeking services for mental health. So, the more they are comfortable doing those things then we can deliver the intervention and maybe we can stop some of these negative things that are occurring to people,” Smith said.
There is an increase in active duty soldiers who are seeking help and Lantz said it’s due to multiple deployments, which is leading to more reintegration and transition counseling.
“There’s not a lot of organizations within the community that provide services to that active duty population,” Smith said.
He said SAFE receives referrals from the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration because of an overwhelming need.
Smith emphasized that SAFE serves veterans of any era with any military affiliation regardless of discharge.
“There are some organizations that have restrictions but if you have put on a uniform at one point or another, then come in and tell us what’s going on,” he said.
When it comes to demographics, the highest number of military seeking help falls into the 23 to 38 age group followed by 38 to 55.
For family members, many couples are seeking counseling to reintegrate with each other and even some children as young as four or five are being helped, according to Smith.
SAFE recently welcomed a new Program Director, Christina Watson, who is a long-time military spouse and also a counselor who has a deep understanding of the ins and outs of the military lifestyle. Smith said she brings a new dynamic to the organization.
For the first time, SAFE is participating in The Big Payback on Thursday, May 2, which is a community-wide 24-hour giving challenge hosted by the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. SAFE is asking for your support to help spread awareness and help impact the lives of soldiers and vets.
You’ll find the Soldiers and Families Embraced offices at 1812 Haynes St. in Clarksville. They are open Monday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Tuesday-Thursday 9 a.m.-7 p.m. To learn more visit soldiersandfamiliesembraced.org or call 931-591-3241.