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


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.


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


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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

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