Development and Piloting of a Mental Health Prevention and Referral Program for Veterans and Their Families in Ukraine

Amanda J. Nguyen, Tara Russell, Stephanie Skavenski, Sergiy Bogdanov, Kira Lomakina, Iryna Ivaniuk, Luke R. Aldridge, Paul Bolton, Laura Murray, Judy Bass

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While growing evidence exists for the effectiveness of mental health interventions in global mental health, the evidence base for psychosocial supports is lacking despite the need for a broader range of supports that span the prevention–treatment continuum and can be integrated into other service systems. Following rigorous evaluation of the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA) in Ukraine, this article describes the development and feasibility testing of CETA Psychosocial Support (CPSS), a brief psychosocial prevention and referral program for Ukrainian veterans and their families. CPSS Development: CPSS development used evidence-based CETA intervention components and was informed by a stakeholder needs analysis incorporating feedback from veterans and their families, literature review, and expert consultations. The program includes psychoeducation, cognitive coping skill development, and a self-assessment tool that identifies participants for potential referral. After initial development of the program, the intervention underwent: (1) initial implementation by skilled providers focused on iterative refinement; (2) additional field-testing of the refined intervention by newly trained providers in real-world conditions; and (3) a formal pilot evaluation with collection of pre-post mental health assessments and implementation ratings using locally validated instruments. Results: Fifteen CPSS providers delivered 14 group sessions to 109 participants (55 veterans, 39 family members, and 15 providers from veterans’ service organizations). After incorporating changes related to content, process, and group dynamics, data from the pilot evaluation suggest the refined CPSS program is an acceptable and potentially effective brief psychosocial prevention and promotion program that can be implemented by trained veteran providers. Forty percent of participants required safety or referral follow-ups. Conclusion: The iterative, inclusive development process resulted in an appropriate program with content and implementation strategies tailored to Ukrainian veterans and their families. Brief psychosocial programs can fit within a larger multitiered mental health and psychosocial continuum of care that supports further referral.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGlobal Health Science and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health Policy


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