Provider, veteran, and family perspectives on family education in Veterans Affairs community-based outpatient facilities

Michelle D. Sherman, Ellen P. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system is dedicated to providing high-quality mental health services to all veterans, including the nearly 40% of enrolled veterans living in rural areas. Family education programs regarding mental illness and posttraumatic stress disorder, mandated for delivery in all VA medical centers and some community-based outpatient clinics (CBOCs), have been developed and provided primarily in large, urban medical centers. This qualitative investigation involved interviews with CBOC providers and veterans and families who live in rural areas and/or seek care in CBOCs to ascertain their perceptions of the benefits, feasibility, structural and cultural barriers, and logistical preferences regarding family education. The perspectives and concerns that emerged in these interviews were combined with expert knowledge to identify the resources and considerations a VAMC would want to address when translating and implementing similar programming into CBOCs. Although institutional, logistic, and attitudinal challenges were described, all three stakeholder groups endorsed the need for family education, did not see the barriers as insurmountable, and provided creative solutions. Administrators and CBOC clinicians may benefit by anticipating and problem solving around the key issues raised when developing family programming.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-100
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological Services
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012


  • Family education
  • Family psychoeducation
  • Mental illness
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder
  • Rural


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