Each year, Texas welcomes increasing numbers of veterans being discharged from military service with acute mental health concerns. A variety of veteran-focused interventions have emerged statewide to address their unique psychological needs. Section 1001.204 in the Health and Safety Code of Texas House Bill 2392 requires annual reporting to Texas Department of State Health Services regarding veteran mental health services to determine their capacity and impact. This annual reporting is designed to measure how many veterans receive mental health services, to document the number of peers and volunteer coordinators trained to provide that support, to identify grants which facilitate these programs, as well as to gather recommendations for improvements to service provision.
Researchers at UT School of Social Work, Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health, have been contracted to develop a framework with which to describe and evaluate veterans’ mental health services across Texas. Researchers will achieve these aims by conducting a two-year study. Qualitative and quantitative methods include: meetings, key informant interviews, data analysis, and surveys to peer-volunteers, community-based therapists, and veteran jail-diversion service providers. The study will result in the following deliverables: 1) an interim report of findings to date and a potential framework for ongoing evaluation; 2) a final report that includes major findings and recommendations and presents a framework and proposed methods to evaluate veteran services on an ongoing basis.
Findings of this study will add to the body of evidence evaluating veteran mental health programs as well as provide insight to policy makers and mental health providers in the state of Texas and beyond.