VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — People who were affected by the mass shooting at the Virginia Beach Municipal Center have a new resource that aims to provide long-term help.
Governor Ralph Northam and Mayor Bobby Dyer joined Sentara Healthcare at Landstown Commons on Tuesday to unveil the VB Strong Center.
The VB Strong Center is all about healing. It offers people ways to process their grief after the May 31 shooting.
"I have found the strength of Hampton Roads is in the people of our city," said Dyer. "This is not a short-term solution, this is the beginning of a long road that we intend to be here for people that need it."
The center will provide free mental health counseling for survivors, employees, victims' families, and first responders. The program will run for three years, thanks to funding by a federal grant.
The City of Virginia Beach is working with Sentara to provide mental health experts. They'll offer individual counseling, group therapy and alternative therapies such as yoga, art, and meditation. There will also be a licensed mental health clinician for anyone who wants to talk.
Howard Kern, the C.E.O. of Sentara Healthcare, said, "I think it's going to have a pretty big impact because I think this will be seen by the employees from the city of Virginia Beach as a resource center."
"A lot of people, they just don't know where to turn, but they can come here if they need help," Governor Northam remarked.
A series of open houses will be held on Oct. 30, 31, and Nov. 1.
The VB Strong Center is located at 3388 Princess Anne Road, Suite 2001 in Landstowns Commons. It's located above Firehouse Subs and Saladworks.
The hours for the open house are:
- Wednesday, October 30: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
- Thursday, October 31: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.
- Friday, November 1: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
After that, the hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Some Saturday hours are available.
Anyone impacted by the mass shooting in any way is welcome to take advantage of the resources at the VB Strong Center.
For more information, visit the VB Strong Center's website.