VA Host Annual Veteran Health & Resource Summit

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Local veterans receiving help Friday (Sept. 7) at the 6th Annual Veteran Health and Resource Summit.

Mental health was a big topic at this year's veterans' summit with a lot of community resources on hand and veterans who shared their story of dealing with the issue.

Carrie Guarino was one of them. She was in the army in the 80's during the cold war.

She didn't know she had post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD until she began getting treatment at the v-a five years ago.

“Now knowing what I know about PTSD it explains a lot of my struggles before I started receiving treatment for that,” Guarino said.

Guarino had suffered from a substance abuse problem, but she's now been sober for more than 30 years.

“There were just some real challenges and receiving services with medication management and therapy has really helped to improve my symptoms so that I can enjoy life more,” she said.

Caroline Dotson, the summit coordinator, said 20 veterans a day die by suicide with only a portion of those veterans receiving care from the VA.

“It's so important that the community and the VA come together to provide resources to veterans in any capacity and that they know that there is help out there for them and that we can help them,” she said.

At the summit, there was also a job fair to help those veterans who are looking for a job.

Veterans were given free haircuts, massages, and lunch. There were also yoga and Thai-chi demonstrations.