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Fortier CB, Currao A, Kenna A, Kim S, Beck BM, Katz D, Hursh C, Fonda JR. Behav. Ther. 2022; 53(3): 469-480.


(Copyright © 2022, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, Publisher Elsevier Publishing)








Post-9/11 U.S. veterans are clinically complex with multiple co-occurring health conditions that lead to increased morbidity and mortality, risk for suicide, and decreased quality of life, but underutilization and resistance to treatment remain significant problems. Increased isolation and decreased community and social support due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have exacerbated mental health risk. This study evaluated the safety and feasibility of home-based telemental health group workshops to improve reintegration and social connection in post-9/11 U.S. military personnel. Seventy-four (61 males/13 females) post-9/11 U.S. military veterans were randomized to receive 12 sessions of STEP-Home cognitive-behavioral group workshop or present-centered group therapy. Treatment was delivered either in person (traditional medical center setting, treatment as usual [TAU]), or via home-based synchronous videoconferencing (VC). The change to VC occurred due to social distancing guidelines during COVID-19. Mean age was 41.0 years (SD = 11.5, range 24-65). Forty-five (36 males/9 females) participated in VC and 29 (25 males/4 females) in TAU. Demographics were similar across treatment milieu. There were no differences in therapist treatment adherence for TAU versus VC. Therapist satisfaction was higher for TAU groups (q value <.05). Veterans showed higher enrollment, attendance, group cohesion, and veteran-to-veteran support for VC compared to TAU (q values <.05). Safety procedures were successfully implemented via VC.

RESULTS demonstrate the safety, feasibility, and high satisfaction of group telemental health in U.S. veterans. Higher enrollment and treatment adherence for telemental health delivery resulted in a greater likelihood of receiving an effective treatment dose than TAU. Strong group cohesion and veteran-to-veteran support were achievable via telehealth. Telemental health offers convenient, efficient, and cost-effective care options for veterans and may be particularly helpful for patients with high psychiatric burden.

Language: en


safety; reintegration; group therapy; telehealth; U.S. veterans, feasibility


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