Community Circles of Support for Veterans’ Families: A national multi-site demonstration project created with support from The Wal-Mart Foundation. Demonstration sites are underwritten by The Walmart Foundation and Welcome Back Veterans an initiative of Major League Baseball and the McCormick Foundation in partnership with The National Center on Family Homelessness.
Community Circles of Support for Veterans’ Families is an innovative educational and mental health initiative that builds capacity among community social service providers to fill a major gap in services for Veterans’ families and has a “no wrong door of entry” philosophy.
The key components of this project include:
- A specialized group therapy pairing the returning war fighter, with PTSD and TBI symptoms, with a parent, sibling, or significant other. The National Center partnered with Dr. Candice Monson (formerly with the National Center on PTSD, Women’s Health Sciences Division) and currently at Ryerson University to adapt her Cognitive-Behavioral Conjoint Therapy for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to specifically meet the needs of this Initiative.
- A community awareness campaign designed to increase public and individual awareness of the experiences of veterans and their family members. This psycho-educational component of the program consists of a monthly series of brief workshops, lectures and/or discussion groups for veterans, veterans’ families, providers, community agencies, and the public.
- Specialized trainings for providers. Specialized trainings involve educating community social services providers on the specific service needs of veterans with PTSD and TBI symptoms and their families, training providers in specialized interventions.
- A peer networking strategy for fostering community among veterans’ families. Peer networking activities at the local sites include activities such as peer-to-peer counseling, participation in drop-in center activities, and recreational events. These activities provide the opportunity for veterans’ families to have fun, express their frustrations, share their experiences, and relate to peers who best understand their challenges.
Community Circles of Support for Veterans’ Families is an integrated, community-based program, which ensures that the community is able to address the many needs of returning veterans and their families.