A wellness center focused on improving the mental health of veterans and their families formally opened Nov. 11 in North San Antonio.

Officials with Endeavors, a national service organization based in San Antonio, were joined by community leaders and veterans in a Veterans Day ceremony at the new Endeavors Veteran Wellness Center at 6333 De Zavala Road, San Antonio.

According to a news release, the wellness center is designed to fill the gap in mental health and wellness services for veterans and their families, regardless of service, discharge status or family relationship. Endeavors has been helping vulnerable populations, such as veterans in crisis, since its inception in 1969.

Jill Palmer, Endeavors’ chief of behavioral health, said in the release the center’s services integrate mental and physical health care, holistic treatments and support services to improve the quality of life and decrease the rate of suicide among veterans.

The release states that suicide rates among veterans are consistently higher compared to civilian populations, especially for women, veterans of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and veterans ages 18-34. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs reported veterans had a suicide rate 52.3% higher than civilians, the release stated.

“Our approach shifts from a traditional sick care model to one that prioritizes wellness and quality of life,” Palmer said. “By integrating services, we can hopefully decrease suicide rates and help veterans live a more fulfilled life."

Endeavors CEO Jon Allman said in the release that, as a veteran, he knows how military service can produce lingering effects on a veteran’s life.

“Housing all these comprehensive services under one roof allows us to better understand the challenges, connect and meet the needs of veterans and their families,” Allman said.

The 27,000-square-foot facility blends light and natural elements to encourage wellness and social interaction, the release stated. It includes the mental health clinic, a fitness center that is accessible to wounded veterans and amputees, a cafe, community rooms and a wellness hub.

On-site child care, transition support and assistance with veterans affairs benefits are available for free for veterans. The center also serves as a new location for the Cohen Veteran Network Military Family Clinic.

Additionally, the facility has several veteran-owned businesses focused on wellness and a field office occupied by District 23 U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-San Antonio. Gonzales is a U.S. Navy veteran.

In the release, U.S. Air Force veteran and Endeavors Chief Operating Officer Chip Fulghum said the new wellness center is unique to Texas.

“From mental health services to fitness and nutritional needs, this facility provides so much to improve the lives of veterans and their families,” Fulghum said.

Sliding-scale affordable membership levels to the VWC fitness center are available by contacting [email protected] For more information, call Endeavors at 210-431-6466.