Counseling for veterans gets boost in county



Members of The Old Oak Tree advisory board celebrate receiving a $19,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham. From left: veterans consumer representative Lisa Weaver, mental health professional Shirley Hawkins, Ph.D. of UAB, counseling services provider Sharon Gotlieb, Ph.D., and state veterans affairs officer, Dalton Wester. The grant will enable The Old Oak Tree to expand hours of counseling for veterans and family members to nine hours a week. Counseling services are now provided on Thursdays, instead of on Wednesdays as in the past. Gotlieb said the agency will also be able to expand training workshops for health care providers, schools, public service agencies and large employers, as well as conducting speaking engagements for civic clubs, churches and other groups. These activities help individuals and agencies to understand and relate to emotional, family, and employment problems faced by returning veterans. As its primary mission, the agency provides individual, marital and group therapy for veterans and their families, as well as referral to other agencies, such as intensive outpatient programs for drug addictions when needed. Gotlieb said that thus far, every veteran and family member who has requested services through The Old Oak Tree in Oneonta has received them. – Ron Gholson