Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center offers telehealth services to UA student veterans

Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center offers telehealth services to UA student veterans

The transition from military to civilian-life can be very difficult and going to college after serving can be an added stress.

A partnership between the University of Alabama and the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center is helping with this transition.

The program is called VITAL which stands for Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership.

They offer several services to military veterans attending college with the goal of making the transition as smooth as possible.

"What I'd like to do is start by going over your service history with you," Air Force Veteran and UA student, Mitchell Baygents, sat in as a doctor with the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center explained a new telehealth program.

Baygents is taking part in the newest program offered through VITAL.

"I can see my fall schedule its going to be ridiculous, like I've already told my family and friends they're not going to see me this fall, so if it cuts down on time, that resource is going ot be huge for us," Baygents said.

"Telehealth services are very important in a sense that it's going to bring actual service, medical service, to this office space," said Will Suclupe, VITAL Program Coordinator.

Right now the service allows UA student veterans to have access to a psychologist in the Transition Center at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center without ever leaving campus.

"It's not going to interrupt their schedule, some veterans have classes that they have to tend to and employment opportunities," Suclupe said.

It is one of many services VITAL offers to veterans attending the university.

"Making sure that veterans are aware of their services and make sure that they have success in their academic endeavors even after academia into employment as well," said Suclupe.

"I figured I was talking this all on by myself and then realized I had these resources as a veteran, its huge," Baygents said.

VITAL plans to expand their telehealth services, to offer mental health services, as well as primary care, in the near future.

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