ACT on Health Lab

Supportive Outreach and Reintegration


The overall aim of the SOAR project is to improve access to high quality mental healthcare, particularly for distressed rural veterans who are not actively engaged in VA healthcare.

Background Information

  • The prevalence of depression, posttraumatic stress, and/or other anxiety disorders (emotional distress) among veterans is higher than that observed in the general population.
  • Many veterans face significant barriers to accessing and engaging in mental health care, including negative perceptions of VHA care and/or mental health care more generally.
  • Veterans living in rural and highly rural areas may face additional barriers to care, including distance to a Veteran's Health Administration facility and perceived stigma of receiving mental health treatment in a small community.

In preceding years, we built relationships and partnerships with rural veteran-centered community organizations to identify distressed veterans who may not otherwise seek help.

The current study focuses on delivering our one-day ACT workshops in rural community-based settings. Throughout the year, we conduct five-to-six ACT groups in a rural-based community setting. Group size varies, but usually includes four-to-ten veterans. Aims of this study include:

  • Establish feasibility and acceptability of delivering one-day ACT workshops in rural community-based settings.
  • Examine the effects of the workshop on distress, reintegration, and initiation of self-care and treatment-seeking (including initiation of new VA care).
  • Engage key VA and community stakeholders (e.g., veterans, service providers) to support the spread and sustainment of these workshops in rural community-based settings.

Study Specifications

  • Sample Size: 50 rural veterans/year
  • Recruiting: ~ six-to-seven participants
  • Intervention group: ACT
  • One group/month with four-ten veterans (ACT only)

Study Contact

Contact Name: Ken Woods, U.S. Army Veteran
Phone Number: 713-440-4612