Check-In Reaches 1000 Connections: Gratitude and Learning

Learn more about Blayne Smith.
Blayne Smith
Interim Director, Health and Well-Being, Veterans and Military Families
George W. Bush Institute

The Veteran Wellness Alliance has connected 1000 veterans and their families to high-quality mental and brain health care through Check-In.

Over four years ago, leaders from the Veteran Wellness Alliance met in Chicago and determined that a seamless process, or “easy button”, for connecting Veterans and their families to mental and brain health care needed to be developed. In the years since, this idea turned into a powerful reality.  

Check-In— a tool for veterans and their families to easily connect to no-cost, high-quality, compassionate mental and brain health care— piloted in a few states in the early COVID months. After some continued development and innovation, it was rolled out to all 50 states and many U.S. territories. Recently, the 1,000th connection was made. 

This milestone represents a mere fraction of the population that we’re hoping to connect to-care. It’s also a time to reflect on our learnings and what we know about the space.

  • It’s OK to Ask: We decided to go straight to the source. Several of our member organizations like Team Red, White & Blue, The Mission Continues, and The Travis Manion Foundation contacted their members directly and discovered many of them had unmet mental or brain health needs. Somewhat to our surprise, many of them answered, “yes”. While we know it is difficult to address, we learned it’s not only OK to ask that question, but critical to the health and safety of our organization members. 
  • It Takes a Village:  The level of transparency and cooperation among organizations, some of who consider each other competition in the space, has been truly heartening. To see partners adopt new technology platforms, add new protocols, and try new outreach tools gives Check-In a bright future. None of us can do it alone, but all of us can make a contribution.  
  • Keep it Simple: Check-In’s magic, and its success is rooted in simplicity. Our goal is to take the work and the stress off the veteran by eliminating their need to self-diagnose symptoms or navigate the medical landscape. By gathering, high-quality clinical providers and employing a team of well-trained, compassionate care coordinators, –Veterans simply fill out a simple contact form and Check-In takes it from there.  

We are working every day to make Check-In as good as it can possibly be, which could not be possible without the dedication and hard work of the partners involved in the Veteran Wellness Alliance. 

Thank you to all of the member organizations of the Veteran Wellness Alliance and the remarkable leaders that have made this work a priority. Check-In could not exist without many people setting aside significant time and resources to work on behalf of the veteran community. To see many nonprofits, who often need to compete for resources, give so much of themselves, speaks volumes for the character and commitment of these organizations and highlights why they are the trusted leaders in the veteran space. Our goal is to keep learning, growing, and most importantly, keep serving those who have given so much to our great Nation. 

Talking about mental health is not easy, especially for those who have served in the military. The need for mental and brain health resources for our veterans and their families continues to remain top of mind for many who are in the veteran community and care for those who have raised their right hand to serve our Nation. While talking about mental health is challenging, finding these resources for care should not be. We are honored to have served 1,000 veterans and their families through Check-In and will continue connecting more.