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Massena Memorial Hospital celebrating 20th anniversary of Veterans Clinic

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MASSENA — Hospital officials are encouraging community members to come out for the 20th anniversary of Massena Memorial Hospital’s Veterans Clinic.

The ceremony will be from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today on the front lawn of the hospital, and will include an awards ceremony, a barbecue lunch and speeches from local veterans, including a World War II veteran who was captured and held in a German concentration camp. Tina R. Corcoran, senior director of communications and planning for the hospital, said the ceremony is open to all.

Starting in four rooms in the early 1990s, the veterans clinic has since expanded to seven exam rooms, occupying four times the floor space, and provides a vast variety of services to treat physical and mental issues of area veterans. Services include mental health counseling and telepsychiatry that remotely connects vets with mental health professionals in Syracuse.

Ms. Corcoran said the hospital recently expanded its mental health counseling for younger vets suffering from post-traumatic stress after service in Iraq or Afghanistan. One resident previously had been forced to drive to Plattsburgh to see a mental health counselor.

Ms. Corcoran said there is a high need for veterans’ services in the north country, with a particularly high rate of military service among residents. Approximately 9,500 of the county’s roughly 112,000 residents have some military service. More than 2,000 veterans have enrolled in the clinic, which sees an average of 900 visits per month.

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