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VA programs can help you reach your goals

SUN columnist

Coaching Into Care is the VA’s national call center for family members and friends of veterans. They help callers talk with veterans about various problems, stressors or mental health concerns. Reach out to one of their highly trained responders at (888) 823-7458 Monday through Friday 8 a.m.-8 p.m. EST.

After the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, the new year can bring a sense of calm. January is often a time for fresh starts and resolutions.

Many resolutions involve breaking a habit, which is no easy task. These are behaviors that have become nearly or completely involuntary. What we know is that having a plan and support to go along with your determination increases your chances of success.

Did you know that the VA has programs that may help enrolled veterans achieve their resolutions?

Quit smoking 

Veterans should talk with their healthcare professional about the many tools available to help them quit. They also may call (855) QUIT-VET [(855) 784-8838] to speak with a smoking cessation counselor. You can download the Stay Quit mobile app for tools to help control cravings and manage smoking triggers.

Lose weight

Excess weight puts you at risk for problems like heart disease, diabetes, some cancers, sleep apnea and gallstones. The best way to manage your weight is to eat wisely and be as physically active as possible. MOVE!® and your VA healthcare team can help you at every step along the way to healthy living and a healthy weight. The program has classes for veterans who are overweight or obese and want help managing their weight. The materials on their web site can help non-VA patients manage their weight as well.

Manage stress

PTSD Coach Online offers 17 tools, including video coaches, to help you manage stress. PTSD Coach mobile app includes reliable information on PTSD and treatments that work, tools to help you track and monitor your symptoms, and direct links to support and help.

Further information 

For further information on VA benefits, call or stop by the Archuleta County Veterans Service Office, located at the Senior Center in the Ross Aragon Community Center on Hot Springs Boulevard.

I will be out of the office on the following days for regularly scheduled meetings:

• Vets4Vets: Tuesday mornings, 9 a.m.-noon.

• Arboles Community Center, first and third Thursdays. Back around 2 p.m.

• Pagosa Outreach Connection, 8:30-10 a.m. every Thursday.

• Home visits/Pine Ridge outreach, second and fourth Thursdays, back at 2 p.m.

The office number is 264-4013, fax number is 264-4014, cell number is 946-3590 and e-mail is raytaylor@archuletacounty.org. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bring your DD Form 214 (Discharge) for completing applications to VA programs or benefits for which the veteran may be entitled to, and a copy for filing in the Archuleta County VSO office. If the office is closed, I am out assisting veterans; leave me a message and phone number to contact you.

Veterans’ groups

The following veterans groups meet in Pagosa Springs:

• American Legion Post 108: second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• American Legion Post 108 Ladies Auxiliary: second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m., 287 Hermosa St.

• Veterans for Veterans: every Tuesday at 10 a.m., Quality Resort.

• Women’s Group of Spouses of Veterans: every other Monday, 6 p.m., St. Patrick’s Episcopal Parish Hall, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Charlotte: 731-1025.

• Point Man Ministries’ Breakfast for Veterans, 8:30 a.m. each Tuesday at Buffalo Inn, 164 N. Pagosa Blvd. Contact Vincent: 731-2769, Vfortunato777@gmail.com.

Important numbers

• 799-VETS, www.Vets4VetsPSCO.org.

• Durango VA Outpatient Clinic: 247-2214.

• Farmington VA Center: (505) 327-9684.

• The Veterans Crisis Line offers free, confidential support to veterans in crisis, as well as their family and friends 24/7/365. Call (800) 273-8255, chat online or text 838255.

This story was posted on January 16, 2014.