Wellness for Warriors: Developing and Disseminating a Veteran-centric Wellness Guide

Online Publication Date:
December 24, 2021
Publication Status:
Published Article MUSE Link:

** Published in Progress in Community Health Partnerships (PCHP) 15.4, December 2021. All rights reserved.**

Background: Evidence-based self-help wellness interventions have several benefits, including low cost, brevity, and lack of need for a healthcare professional. Veterans, in particular, may benefit from a self-guided resource, given a culture of self-reliance, mental health help-seeking stigma, and a high need for mental health care. Despite the high need, few self-help resources are designed for Veterans.

Objectives: The goal of this project was to create the Veteran Wellness Guide, a self-guided resource comprising SMART goal setting and evidence-based interventions for Veterans (e.g., self-kindness, gratitude, diaphragmatic breathing, mindfulness).

Methods: First, a Veteran Engagement Group reviewed the guide and provided feedback on Veteran-centric content and design. After the authors revised the guide, a subset of the group approved changes. Additional Veterans used it for 2 weeks and provided feedback.

Results: Veterans reported the guide as being highly useful, were willing to recommend it to other Veterans, and identified a need for it in the Veteran community. Veterans and Veterans Health Administration clinicians and leadership helped craft a dissemination plan to reach Veterans whether they receive care through the Veterans Health Administration or the community.

Conclusions: Partnering with Veterans in the creation of the wellness guide led to a Veteran-centric product tailored to meet the unique wellness needs of Veterans. The guide has been nationally disseminated and downloaded over 3000 times and can be downloaded for free from our website.