SAFE Project is pleased to announce that, through funding and support from Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP), it has completed the discovery phase of research and development of the Veteran-Adult Prevention and Wellness Program in San Antonio, Texas. The program, which focuses on military veterans and their families, will be designed by veterans for veterans with an emphasis on women veterans.
The discovery phase of research and development in San Antonio consisted of partnering with Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems (OWLS) to interview veteran stakeholders and conduct a focus group. Data collected in this stage was derived from 17 representatives (four key informants and 13 focus group participants) for 34 total person interview hours. Key informants from Grace After Fire (GAF), The Pink Berets, and Texas A&M San Antonio Military Affairs & ROTC (TAMSA-MAR) in the San Antonio area were interviewed and participated in the focus group.
Key informants also aided in recruiting additional focus group members through the distribution of a 20-item online survey. Responses collected from this survey were used to carefully select the best candidates to participate in the focus group, with an emphasis on creating a demographically diverse group of veterans. A total of 33 people responded to the online survey, and 16 were invited to participate in a focus group. The study’s focus was on women and women veterans were selected first. Of the 16, 13 respondents participated in the virtual focus group and received $25 gift cards for their time. Additional outreach was done through a survey sent to 20 individuals that asked about other needs, interests, and preferences regarding the topics to be included in the Veteran Wellness curriculum/programming.
Across all interviews and the focus group, six recurring themes of identity, promotion of mental health and physical health help-seeking, locating social supports, guidance on navigating and obtaining resources outside the Veterans Administration (VA), effective coping, and financial security were identified. Input and feedback from the interviews, focus group, and survey determined critical training and resilience skills needed, and will guide the curriculum development of the Veteran-Adult Prevention and Wellness pilot program.
“It’s hard to ask for help. We are told to be strong in the military, so it can be difficult to be vulnerable.” – Focus Group Participant.
This front-end wellness program aims to promote resilience for post-9/11 veterans (ages 18-65). It will also encourage participants to seek help where there is a risk for substance use, mental health, and co-occurring challenges (PTSD, MST, TBI, and illness).
SAFE Project would like to thank our community partners in San Antonio who actively supported the discovery phase work.