OCEANSIDE – A new clinic is now providing more access to mental health services for veterans, active duty service members and their families.
City officials, community members and the Cohen Veteran Network celebrated the grand opening of its new Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) on Oct. 5 in Oceanside.
The clinic opened its telehealth services in March but is now seeing patients in person at 3609 Ocean Ranch Boulevard.
The North County clinic is the second Cohen clinic to open in California, with the first already operating in Mission Valley and the third set to open later this year in Los Angeles.
The new clinics stem from New York Mets owner and philanthropist Steven A. Cohen’s $275 million commitment in 2016 to launch a network of Cohen mental health clinics across the country for post-9/11 veterans, active-duty service members and their families.
Approximately 33,000 veterans, 40,000 active duty service members and more than 31,000 military family members will be eligible for services through the Oceanside clinic. National Guard and reserve members also have access to the clinic.
The clinic provides a range of mental health services, including specialized therapy for depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other challenges presented through a transition to civilian life, including marriage and relationship counseling and behavioral health for children.
Cohen clinics also offer comprehensive case management support and referrals to deal with other stresses like unemployment, finances, housing, and legal issues.
Akina Goodson is an outreach coordinator and case manager at the Cohen clinic in Oceanside.
“As a case manager, I play an integral role in providing support and continued engagement of care,” Goodson said. “As a case manager/outreach coordinator, I have the amazing opportunity to work throughout our community to not only establish rapport and a helping relation but to build and maintain business connections and partnerships that will provide needed services and support to our military community and the Steven A. Cohen military family clinics.”
Goodson, who grew up in a military family and currently lives on Camp Pendleton as a military spouse, is connected to the military community as a volunteer and advocate and knows the needs and challenges of veterans, active duty service members and their families.
“We like to let people know they’re not alone,” Goodson said.
The clinic offers a room for children’s therapy sessions and several rooms for clinicians to meet with patients. There is also a community event space that accommodates up to 49 people and is free and open to the public.
The clinic has several beach themes throughout its halls, including photos of the Oceanside pier and other local memorabilia. Goodson explained that the clinic is designed to make visitors feel comfortable and welcome.
“We want them to feel comfortable when they enter our clinics knowing that it’s a judgment-free zone,” Goodson said.