An "alarming" shortage in veterans services could soon be remedied, as Wagga's newest health centre is greenlit for funding.
This week Wagga RSL's sub-branch agreed to purchase the old Carmelite Monastery and lease it to the Pro Patria Centre, which is a health centre for veterans and emergency services workers.
The sub-branch also agreed to provide $30,000 seed funding for the pilot program, which will enable them to roll out more services throughout its duration.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Veteran Lachlan Feeney said such services have been woefully lacking in Wagga, with many having to travel to Sydney for basic services.
Mr Feeney said many veterans they surveyed simply gave up on accessing certain services, since the time and cost were often prohibitive.
"We've found in our data that a lot of veterans have had to leave the Riverina multiple times at the cost of themselves, their family, time off of work," Mr Feeney said.
"It's an alarming statistic, so what we are doing is try to help those veterans who have given up on wanting to travel to the bigger cities so they can access those services right here."
Mr Feeney said they currently had around 20 health practitioners and psychiatrists who had expressed interest in providing their services at Pro Patria.
In addition to physical therapy, they will be rolling out mental health workshops including anger management classes, sleep clinics, and diet and lifestyle management.
Next on their list is introducing transcranial magnetic stimulation therapy, which is used in the treatment of depression.
Mental health is a cause that hits close to home for retired wing commander Graeme Wren, who said it was a deeply rooted problem in his community.
"I've got a very keen interest in supporting the physical and mental wellbeing of our veterans, which are wide-ranging issue in our community - particularly mental health," Dr Wren said.
"Our primary focus is to provide local support rather than having than having them referred out of the region and separated from family and friends."
Wagga Defence Shed's Jason "Frosty" Frost said the Pro Patria team had grand ambitions to continue adding to their list of services as the program started to gain traction.
"We've had an insane amount of interest over the last six month so we're now looking at booking people in, writing contracts up with the leasees - it's very exciting times," Mr Frost said.
"Early on we were doing a lot of referral pathways but now we're able to tighten that up a little bit more and coordinate with more complimentary services as well."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: