Veteran Wellness Alliance: Best in class peer-based networks and care providers addressing veterans’ mental health barriers

Learn more about Col. Matthew F. Amidon, USMCR.
Col. Matthew F. Amidon, USMCR
Former Director, Veterans and Military Families
George W. Bush Institute

Our common mission is clear: Getting more veterans into care for the invisible wounds.

Recognize. Connect. Deliver.


These three words serve as the foundation for a remarkable collaboration that began in late 2016 after the Invictus Games in Orlando, Fla., and led to the creation of the Veteran Wellness Alliance, a group of health care providers, community-focused organizations, and peer networks with a national reach.


Our common mission is clear: Getting more veterans into care for the invisible wounds.


The George W. Bush Institute led a symposium during the Orlando Games that gave the coalition nations assembled there the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the invisible wounds carried by many of their veterans, servicemembers, and family members.


The conclusion: Although effective care exists for the invisible wounds, many barriers prevent veterans’ access.


Most veterans never seek care due to embarrassment, shame, and fear of repercussions in the workplace. If they do pursue care, they are presented with a confusing array of choices and enduring doubt as to “what right looks like.” Finally, if they are connected to care, they are faced with the reality that some providers don’t have the cultural competencies important to the delivery of high-quality care.


Working from these conclusions, the Military Service Initiative at the Bush Institute focused on how to enhance the connection from health care provider to those in need. And we worked to build a team that could make this happen—now known as the Veteran Wellness Alliance.


The first meeting of the Veteran Wellness Alliance took place in April 2017 at the Bush Institute to tackle delivering the right care at the right place and at the right time.


Today, the Veteran Wellness Alliance spans the country. Members include best-in-class care providers for the invisible wounds as well as community-focused organizations and peer networks. All share the common focus of continued leadership and mutual support.


Our partners include Team Rubicon, Team RWB, The Mission Continues, The Travis Manion Foundation, Student Veterans of America, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, the Wounded Warrior Project, and our very own Team 43. Partnered with them are the Cohen Veteran Network, the Warrior Care Network, Headstrong, Centerstone, the Marcus Institute for Brain Health, and the Shepherd SHARE Center.


The mission of getting more veterans and servicemembers into care hasn’t changed, but our ability to achieve it has.


One of the reasons why is Check-In, a technology platform that the Alliance has developed that enables easy referral to treatment based on the customer’s needs. But we don’t just rely on technology: Check-In gives the people seeking care the opportunity to speak to our licensed clinical social worker, who can provide them with an array of care options in all 50 states, ranging from intensive outpatient to telehealth options.


Check-In is an invaluable tool for the Alliance’s amazing veteran-supporting peer, community, and caregiving organizations. When faced with someone in need, they can refer them to Check-In rather than having to determine what the right care looks like on their own. And they can do this efficiently and safely.


But, ultimately, it’s all about our servicemembers, veterans, and their families.


Through Check-In, the Veteran Wellness Alliance will continue collaborating with more peer-based organizations and clinical providers to streamline access for evidence-based, high-quality care for our nation’s veterans and their families so they can live the full lives that they deserve.


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