An open trial of VA CONNECT: Caring for Our Nation's Needs Electronically during the COVID-19 Transition

Molly Gromatsky, Sarah R. Sullivan, Ashley L. Greene, Usha Govindarajulu, Emily L. Mitchell, Emily R. Edwards, Robert Lane, Kyra K. Hamerling-Potts, Angela Page Spears, Marianne Goodman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic impacted emotional well-being due to safety concerns, grief, employment impacts, and social interaction limitations. Face-to-face mental health treatment restrictions were especially impactful to veterans who often gain social enrichment from Veterans Health Administration (VHA) care. We present results from a novel group-based telehealth intervention, VA Caring for Our Nation's Needs Electronically during the COVID-19 Transition (VA CONNECT), which integrates skills training and social support to develop a COVID-19 Safety & Resilience Plan. Veterans (n ​= ​29) experiencing COVID-related stress participated in an open trial of this 10-session, manualized group VHA telehealth intervention. We examined whether COVID-19-related stress, adjustment disorder symptoms, and loneliness decreased, and coping strategy use increased after participation in VA CONNECT. Between baseline and two-month follow-up, participants reported a significant reduction in perceived stress and adjustment disorder symptoms, and an increase in planning coping skills use. Significant changes were not observed in loneliness or other specific coping strategies. Findings may support the utility of VA CONNECT as an intervention for pandemic-related stress and improving certain coping skills. Future research should explore group-based telehealth interventions like VA CONNECT with other populations within and outside of the VA, which have value during major disruptions to face-to-face mental healthcare access.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100122
JournalPsychiatry Research Communications
Volume3
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Adjustment
  • COVID-19
  • Group
  • Stress
  • Telehealth
  • Treatment
  • Veterans

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'An open trial of VA CONNECT: Caring for Our Nation's Needs Electronically during the COVID-19 Transition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this