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News | October 16, 2020

Listening to Veteran Voices: Progress on Adult Prevention and Wellness Program

Veteran input requested. 

Over the past few months, SAFE Project has been conducting focus groups, interviews, and surveys in order to develop a comprehensive Veterans Prevention and Wellness Program. The current work, being performed in Jacksonville, Florida, and San Antonio, Texas, will help SAFE Project understand the specific needs of veterans with the goal of improving their mental health, resilience, and wellness. Ultimately, the program, which will be designed by veterans for veterans, will focus on military veterans and their families who have experienced a substance use disorder or mental health condition. If you are a veteran, spouse, or caregiver, your input is requested on a survey.

SAFE Project partnered with Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems (OWLS) to assist them in conducting the research and, ultimately, build the comprehensive program. SAFE Project and OWLS are not only working together in Jacksonville and San Antonio but also in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Thanks to the generous support of the Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), SAFE Project has been able to move quickly in both Jacksonville and San Antonio despite our country being in the midst of the crisis surrounding COVID-19 and the limitations created by the needs for social distancing.  

The research in all of these locations has identified a number of common themes for most post-9/11 veterans. These themes include challenges relating to post-service identity, mental health stigma, social support, guidance on resources, and effective coping were identified. Specific veteran needs include: learning financial skills and how to navigate the claims process through the Veterans Administration, getting support for creating a lifestyle of physical and mental well-being, having voices and stories heard, needing resources to be available promptly after exiting the military, bringing awareness to military sexual trauma, finding spirituality and having faith, creating a supportive community, establishing an identity apart from military life, needing to reduce stigma and shame for veterans seeking help, learning how to reverse unhealthy coping mechanisms, and needing child support resources. 

SAFE Project would like to thank our community partners in Jacksonville and San Antonio, including: Northeast Florida Women Veterans, The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Centerstone, the University of North Florida, The Pink Berets, Grace After Fire, and Texas A & M University at San Antonio, who actively supported the focus group work and WWP for funding the research for the Veteran Wellness Program.

Wounded Warrior Project White Logo “SAFE Project is very excited about the partnership with Wounded Warrior Project. I believe this grant gives us a great opportunity to ask veterans what they want from training and then build an evidence-based program to meet their needs.” – Bill Pinamont, Senior Director, SAFE Veterans.

If you are a veteran interested in helping, we would love your input! Please take this 10-minute survey asking about veteran health needs. We will be randomly drawing $25 gift cards for survey participants.

To learn more about SAFE Project’s veterans initiative, visit SAFE Veterans. For more information or if you have any questions, please contact