Brand SpotlightYour Healthy Family


Your Healthy Family: David Lawrence Centers' partners with non-profit to treat veterans, military and family members for free

Posted at 10:56 AM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 11:00:55-04

NAPLES, Fla. — A partnership announced Thursday between a non-profit and a local mental health center will allow Southwest Florida veterans, service members, and their families to get treatment at no cost. This announcement from Home Base and the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health came at a time when veteran suicides are climbing.

In Florida, more than 500 veterans take their own lives each year. Matthew Loebs was in the U.S. Army for 17 years. His friend was one of those veterans who committed suicide.

“I was on the phone with him hours before he ended up taking his own life," he said.

Loebs said the anxiety-driven missions while in the Army, wondering which could be his last, had long term effects on him, too.

“PTSD doesn't go away," he said. "I was going through some rough times. Me and my wife went through a separation and ultimately got a divorce."

The non-profit Home Base has a mission to help veterans, service members and their families heal after coming back from deployment.

“We know about one in three veterans returning home from deployment are coming home with an invisible wound, which can be PTSD, a traumatic brain injury, anxiety, depression, co-occurring substance use,” Armando Hernandez, the Program Director for Home Base in Florida, said.

Loebs told Fox 4 Home Base helped him lay a foundation when he got back home, but there wasn’t anything set up locally to help to continue that care. He said the new partnership between Home Base and the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health will change that.

The CEO of the David Lawrence Centers, Scott Burgess, said they're now offering specialized no-cost mental healthcare to veterans and military families in Southwest Florida through Cognitive Processing Therapy.

“It's proven to be the most effective treatment for PTSD and other traumas associated with veterans, war circumstances, and their environment that they were in," he said.

Burgess said they have three specially-trained therapists and two specially-trained doctors specific to this type of therapy and treatment. He said the David Lawrence Centers' partnership with Home Base is especially important given the makeup of Southwest Florida.

"We have a higher percentage of veterans in {Collier} county than in most of the counties in Florida and most of the counties in the entire country,” Burgess said.

Loebs told Fox 4 after this type of therapy and treatment, working on himself, and digging deep to fight his demons, he finally got his happy ending.

“Coming back a year and a half later, me and my wife reconnected and we got remarried. And now things are the best that they could ever been," he said.

He said he’s glad more of the brave will have easier access to that life-saving care because of this new partnership.

“We don't deserve to live that dark life that we had to live. There a light at the end of the tunnel, and we need the resources to get there and then we need our own drive to get there," Loebs said.

More than 108,000 veterans, service members and their family members are eligible for this no-cost treatment. The David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health is now taking appointments for this new program.