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Every day, hundreds of sick and injured patients walk into free and charitable clinics around the Tampa Bay area in need of a doctor.Many are suffering from chronic conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Some patients were referred to the clinics by staff at hospitals where they landed after years of neglecting to care for treatable conditions.The clinics allow the patients to pay what they can, or nothing at all. They are staffed by doctors and nurses who volunteer their time. They survive off donations and small grants.Many of the patients have jobs but they are living paycheck to paycheck. None have health insurance, either because they do not qualify for Medicaid or can’t afford private coverage. For these patients, the clinics are often their only option for primary care.

New Mental Health Clinic In Tampa Serves Post-9/11 Veterans And Military Families

A new mental health clinic opened in Tampa that provides free or low-cost care to post-9/11 veterans and military families.


The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Aspire Health Partners is one of 14 clinics run by a national nonprofit called the Cohen Veterans Network.

Governor Ron DeSantis attended the dedication ceremony on Monday, as did Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor and Medal of Honor recipient, former U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ryan Pitts.

DeSantis praised the clinic for also welcoming members of the National Guard and Reservists, and for offering treatment to entire families.

"Not just the veteran which is obviously important, but when you have veterans deploying, it’s not just the veteran that has to deal with that, it really does affect the spouse, it affects the kids, and really it’s a team effort," he said.

Dr. Anthony Hassan, President and CEO of the Cohen Veterans Network, said the goal is to remove barriers to mental health care. 

“We're going to provide free transportation to and from the clinic, we're going to have a childcare representative here in the building if you need them for your appointment,” he said.

“We have telehealth services already ready to go, first day this clinic opened they had telehealth capacity meaning we can see you in your home, you never have to leave home."

Officials with the network said they expect the clinic to serve more than 500 clients in its first year.

While it’s geared toward the nearly 60,000 post-9/11 veterans and military families in the Tampa Bay area, they say the group makes an effort to treat all veterans who ask, regardless of discharge status, length of service or combat experience.

Treatments are available for a variety of mental health issues including depression, anxiety, PTSD, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, family issues, transitional challenges, relationship problems, and child behavioral problems.

The network is working to open another clinic in Jacksonville later this year, part of its goal to have 25 clinics by 2020.

Governor Ron DeSantis tours the new clinic, which includes a play room for kids. The clinic provides mental health care for children of veterans and active duty military.
Cohen Veterans Network /
The Florida Channel
Governor Ron DeSantis tours the new clinic, which includes a play room for kids. The clinic provides mental health care for children of veterans and active duty military.

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Stephanie Colombini joined WUSF Public Media in December 2016 as Producer of Florida Matters, WUSF’s public affairs show. She’s also a reporter for WUSF’s Health News Florida project.