Advertisement

Community Mental Health Journal

, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 1189–1197 | Cite as

Veteran Coffee Socials: A Community-Building Strategy for Enhancing Community Reintegration of Veterans

  • Jay A. GormanEmail author
  • Arielle A. J. Scoglio
  • John Smolinsky
  • Antony Russo
  • Charles E. Drebing
Original Paper

Abstract

Veterans transitioning from military to civilian life are vulnerable to a loss of social support and an increase in isolation from their communities, which can exacerbate other difficulties they may be experiencing, such as physical or mental health problems. Veteran Coffee Socials are an innovative community-building pilot intervention designed to foster social support and community between veterans. In seven target communities, certified peer specialists initiated and facilitated weekly “Veteran Coffee Socials”—open peer support groups for veterans, held in local coffee shop or restaurants. Over a 9-month period, an average of 8.5 veterans attended each meeting, for a total of 2236 veteran engagements across seven towns. A range of activities were identified as commonly occurring during these Veteran Coffee Socials. Veteran attendees routinely formed relationships with each other, representatives from community organizations, and staff from local and VA healthcare resources. One of the most common activities involved veterans receiving information and directions for enrollment into needed healthcare supports and to local community resources. Case descriptions are provided illustrate the potential positive impact of this intervention to build community and expand social support for returning veterans through the examination of three individual and three group examples.

Keywords

Community reintegration Veterans Community-based interventions Social support Coffee Social Peer 

References

  1. Ahern, J., Worthen, M., Masters, J., Lippman, S. A., Ozer, E. J., & Moos, R. (2015). The challenges of Afghanistan and Iraq veterans’ transition from military to civilian life and approaches to reconnection. PloS One, 10(7), e0128599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bambara, J. K., Turner, A. P., Williams, R. M., & Haselkorn, J. K. (2014). Social support and depressive symptoms among caregivers of veterans with multiple sclerosis. Rehabilitation Psychology, 59(2), 230.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Burke, S. M., & Utley, A. (2013). Climbing towards recovery: Investigating physically injured combat veterans’ psychosocial response to scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro. Disability and Rehabilitation, 35(9), 732–739.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caddick, N., & Smith, B. (2014). The impact of sport and physical activity on the well-being of combat veterans: A systematic review. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(1), 9–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chang, C. W., Chung, C. L., Biegel, D. E., Pernice-Duca, F., Min, M. O., & D’Angelo, L. (2014). Predictors of loneliness of clubhouse members. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 37(1), 51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chaskin, R. J. (Ed.), (2001). Building community capacity (p. 12). New Jersey: Transaction PublishersGoogle Scholar
  7. Coll, J. E., Weiss, E. L., & Yarvis, J. S. (2011). No one leaves unchanged: Insights for civilian mental health care professionals into the military experience and culture. Social Work in Health Care, 50(7), 487–500.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Danish, S. J., & Antonides, B. J. (2013). The challenges of reintegration for service members and their families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 83(4), 550–558.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Davidson, L., Chinman, M., Kloos, B., Weingarten, R., Stayner, D., & Tebes, J. K. (1999). Peer support among individuals with severe mental illness: A review of the evidence. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 6(2), 165–187.Google Scholar
  10. Demers, A. (2011). When veterans return: The role of community in reintegration. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 16(2), 160–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Drebing, C. E., Reilly, E., Henze, K. T., Kelly, M., Russo, A., Smolinsky, J., … Penk, W. E. (2018). Using peer support groups to enhance community integration of veterans in transition. Psychological Services, 15(2), 135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ellison, M. L., Reilly, E. D., Mueller, L., Schultz, M., & Drebing, C. (2017). A supported education service for returning veterans with PTSD: Pilot findings. Psychological Services, 15, 200CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glynn, S. M., Drebing, C., & Penk, W. (2009). Psychosocial rehabilitation. Chapter 16. In Effective treatments for PTSD: Practice guidelines from the international society for traumatic stress studies (2nd ed., pp. 388–423). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  14. Greysen, S. R., Horwitz, L. I., Covinsky, K. E., Gordon, K., Ohl, M. E., & Justice, A. C. (2013). Does social isolation predict hospitalization and mortality among HIV+ and uninfected older veterans? Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 61(9), 1456–1463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hawkins, B. L., McGuire, F. A., Britt, T. W., & Linder, S. M. (2015). Identifying contextual influences of community reintegration among injured servicemembers. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 52(2), 235–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hinojosa, R., & Hinojosa, M. S. (2011). Using military friendships to optimize postdeployment reintegration for male operation Iraqi freedom/operation enduring freedom veterans. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 48(10), 1145–1158.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Jain, S., McLean, C., Adler, E. P., & Rosen, C. S. (2016). Peer support and outcome for veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in a residential rehabilitation program. Community Mental Health Journal, 52(8), 1089–1092.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Koenig, C. J., Maguen, S., Monroy, J. D., Mayott, L., & Seal, K. H. (2014). Facilitating culture-centered communication between health care providers and veterans transitioning from military deployment to civilian life. Patient Education and Counseling, 95(3), 414–420.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pec.2014.03.016.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Lin, N., Fu, Y. C., & Hsung, R. M. (2001). Measurement techniques for investigations of social capital. In N. Lin (Eds.), Social capital: theory and research. New York: Aldine-de GruyterCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. MacQueen, K. M., McLellan, E., Metzger, D. S., Kegeles, S., Strauss, R. P., Scotti, R., … Trotter, R. T. (2001). What is community? An evidence-based definition for participatory public health. American Journal of Public Health, 91(12), 1929–1938.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Mamon, D., McDonald, E. C., Lambert, J. F., & Cameron, A. Y. (2017). Using storytelling to heal trauma and bridge the cultural divide between veterans and civilians. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 22(8), 669–680.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Matarazzo, B. B., Signoracci, G. M., Brenner, L. A., & Olson-Madden, J. H. (2016). Barriers and facilitators in providing community mental health care to returning veterans with a history of traumatic brain injury and co-occurring mental health symptoms. Community Mental Health Journal, 52(2), 158–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. McGarity, S., Barnett, S. D., Lamberty, G., Kretzmer, T., Powell-Cope, G., Patel, N., & Nakase-Richardson, R. (2016). Community reintegration problems among veterans and active duty service members with traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 32, 34–35Google Scholar
  24. Montgomery, R. (2014, August 25). VFW battles to reverse a decline in membership. Retrieved May 30, 2017 from, http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article1283131.html.
  25. Mowatt, R. A., & Bennett, J. (2011). War narratives: Veteran stories, PTSD effects, and therapeutic fly-fishing. Therapeutic recreation journal, 45(4), 286.Google Scholar
  26. Orazem, R. J., Frazier, P. A., Schnurr, P. P., Oleson, H. E., Carlson, K. F., Litz, B. T., & Sayer, N. A. (2016). Identity adjustment among Afghanistan and Iraq war veterans with reintegration difficulty. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy.  https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0000225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Patel, P., Frederick, T., & Kidd, S. A. (2016). Physical health, community participation and schizophrenia. Journal of Health Psychology.  https://doi.org/10.1177/1359105316666654 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Pietrzak, R. H., Johnson, D. C., Goldstein, M. B., Malley, J. C., & Southwick, S. M. (2015). Perceived stigma and barriers to mental health care utilization among OEF-OIF veterans. Psychiatric Services, 60(8), 1118–1122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Putnam, R. D. (1995). Tuning in, tuning out: The strange disappearance of social capital in America. PS: Political Science & Politics, 28(4), 664–683.Google Scholar
  30. Repper, J., & Carter, T. (2011). A review of the literature on peer support in mental health services. Journal of Mental Health, 20(4), 392–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Resnick, L., Bradford, D. W., Jette, A. M., Glynn, S. M., Jette, A. M., & Hernandez, C. J. (2012). Issues in defining and measuring veteran community reintegration: proceedings of the Working Group on Community Reintegration, VA Rehabilitation Outcomes Conference, Miami, Florida. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development, 49(1), 87–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Resnick, S. G., & Rosenheck, R. A. (2008). Integrating peer-provided services: A quasi-experimental study of recovery orientation, confidence, and empowerment. Psychiatric Services, 59(11), 1307–1314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Resnik, L. J., & Allen, S. M. (2007). Using international classification of functioning, disability and health to understand challenges in community reintegration of injured veterans. Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development, 44(7), 991–1006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Romero, D. H., Riggs, S. A., & Ruggero, C. (2015). Coping, family social support, and psychological symptoms among student veterans. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 62(2), 242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sayer, N. A., Carlson, K. F., & Frazier, P. A. (2014). Reintegration challenges in US service members and veterans following combat deployment. Social Issues and Policy Review, 8(1), 33–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sayer, N. A., Frazier, P., Orazem, R. J., Murdoch, M., Gravely, A., Carlson, K. F., … Noorbaloochi, S. (2011). Military to civilian questionnaire: A measure of postdeployment community reintegration difficulty among veterans using Department of Veterans Affairs medical care. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 24(6), 660–670.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sayer, N. A., Noorbaloochi, S., Frazier, P., Carlson, K., Gravely, A., & Murdoch, M. (2010). Reintegration problems and treatment interests among Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans receiving VA medical care. Psychiatric Services, 61(6), 589–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sherman, M. D., Larsen, J., & Borden, L. M. (2015). Broadening the focus in supporting reintegrating Iraq and Afghanistan veterans: Six key domains of functioning. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 46(5), 355–365.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sledge, W. H., Lawless, M., Sells, D., Wieland, M., O’Connell, M. J., & Davidson, L. (2011). Effectiveness of peer support in reducing readmissions of persons with multiple psychiatric hospitalizations. Psychiatric Services, 62(5), 541–544.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Solomon, P. (2004). Peer support/peer provided services underlying processes, benefits, and critical ingredients. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 27(4), 392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Wells, K., Miranda, J., Bruce, M. L., Alegria, M., & Wallerstein, N. (2004). Bridging community intervention and mental health services research. American Journal of Psychiatry, 161(6), 955–963.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wewiorski, N., Gorman, J. A., Scoglio, A. A. J., Fukuda, S., Reilly, E., Mueller, L., O’Connor, M., Penk, W. E., & Drebing, C. E. (2018). Best practices in vocational services for the community reintegration of returning veterans. Psychological Services, 15, 191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wu, E., & Graham, D. P. (2016). Association of chronic pain and community integration of returning veterans with and without traumatic brain injury. The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation, 31(1), E1–E12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jay A. Gorman
    • 1
    Email author
  • Arielle A. J. Scoglio
    • 1
  • John Smolinsky
    • 2
  • Antony Russo
    • 2
  • Charles E. Drebing
    • 1
  1. 1.Social & Community Reintegration Research ProgramENRM VA Medical CenterBedfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySuffolk UniversityBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations