A new engagement strategy in a VA-based family psychoeducation program

Michelle D. Sherman, Ellen Fischer, Ursula B. Bowling, Lisa Dixon, Lauren Ridener, Denise Harrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Objective: This brief report describes the engagement strategy used in the Reaching out to Educate and Assist Caring, Healthy Families (REACH) program, a nine-month family psychoeducation program for veterans with serious mental illness or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Methods: A motivational interviewing-based strategy was created and implemented in a Veterans Affairs hospital to engage providers and veterans and their families into the intervention. Results: Of the 1,539 veterans told about the program, 41% had a family member living nearby and were willing to meet with a provider to learn more. REACH providers met with 505 veterans for a motivational-interviewing session to explore family participation. Of the 436 veterans who were eligible to participate in REACH, 28% of veterans with PTSD, 34% of veterans with an affective disorder, and 25% of veterans with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder went on to participate in at least one session of the REACH program with a family member; these rates compare favorably with those for programs requiring a much shorter commitment. Conclusions: This engagement strategy shows promise as an effective tool in recruiting veterans and their families into family psychoeducation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-257
Number of pages4
JournalPsychiatric Services
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2009


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