The United States faces an unprecedented challenge in caring for its military service members, their spouses, and families after 13 years at war. Many programs address the diverse mental health needs of returning veterans, yet few address veteran family members’ mental health needs. The VA offers health care to veterans, but their families do not receive this benefit. Further, veteran spouses often bear the burden as caregivers to veterans suffering from difficult mental and physical healthcare needs. As Texas has the second largest veteran population, this project will engage a large number of veteran spouses in the research process. With leadership from a veteran spouse researcher at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, the Veteran Spouse Network (VSN) will develop an online forum for veteran spouses that provides training in research methods and opportunities to dialogue with research investigators studying veteran families’ mental health practices.
More information about University of Texas at Austin’s project can be found here.
Project Resource: VSN Webinar Meeting Notes
Engaging and Serving the Veteran Community
Through Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards, veterans and their families participated in shaping research on health issues that mattered to them, ranging from posttraumatic stress disorder to interpersonal strain in their families. PCORI stakeholders listened to veterans and their families, built tools to support their engagement, and developed a network to sustain this support.