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UCLA launches walk-in counseling service for military veterans

By Helen Immerso

Feb. 22, 2016 12:21 a.m.

UCLA staff and faculty members who are military veterans will be able to receive walk-in counseling under a pilot program the Staff and Faculty Counseling Center launched early February.

Employees previously had to set up an appointment a week in advance to see a counselor, said Jorge Cherbosque, co-director of the UCLA Staff and Faculty Counseling Center. The new program will allow military veterans to receive walk-in treatment between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, Cherbosque added.

UCLA has been working to increase its employment of veterans to reflect the 7 percent national average, according to a UCLA Campus Human Resources report on staff affirmative action. UCLA hired 72 veterans out of the 4,151 employees hired in the last three years, according to the report.

The center may hire a counselor trained specifically to help veterans, depending on the popularity of the program, Cherbosque said. The center currently employs four counselors who do not specialize in veteran care.

In the first two weeks of the program, two faculty members and military veterans utilized the services, Cherbosque said. He added he expects the number to increase as more staff learn about the service.

Cherbosque said he thinks the program will make it easier for military veterans, an underserved population, to receive support after their time in the military. He added some veterans exhibit symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, which needs to be treated quickly.

The program will not cost the center any additional expenses because existing staff members can accommodate walk-in counseling, Cherbosque said. He added the center will decide whether to continue this program at the end of the year, depending on veterans’ feedback.

Compiled by Helen Immerso, Bruin contributor.

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