CIC eNews Summer 2016 Issue


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Summer 2016 Issue

CIC Milestone: 5 Years as a National Program

 5 year Logo


This Summer, Coaching Into Care (CIC) is celebrating 5 years as a telephone-based service to help family members and friends of Veterans who want to assist a Veteran seek mental health care.  In this time, we have answered more than 11,000 calls from family members and others concerned about a Veteran. Callers reach out to us for help getting educated on how deployments may have affected their loved one and for finding effective treatments, services, and programs. We guide them towards effective conversations about difficult topics like making a decision to seek help.

Families Also Serve

Military service takes a toll on family members and friends as well as those who have served in our Armed Forces. They often need support and reassurance that their situation can improve. They play a key role in encouraging their Veteran to make informed choices about getting treatment, and CIC helps to guide them through that process.

This process often involves a great deal of frustration and stress for family members, particularly when their idea of the services they believe the Veteran needs differs from the Veteran’s point of view. The staff members of Coaching Into Care strive to understand the needs of every individual caller as well as the strengths and challenges they face, including sometimes their own need for mental health services.

Strong As One, Stronger Together

Over the years, CIC has developed several partnerships to help us reach our goals of effectively serving Veterans and their family members. We work closely with the Veterans Crisis Line and Caregiver Support Line (CSL) to make referrals and share resources. CIC responders have even been trained to provide backup coverage for the Caregiver Support Line in the event of an outage. We also work closely with the Vet Center Call Center when the caller is a Veteran and wants to talk with a Veteran who is part of t he VA's Vet Center system about treatment issues.  CIC staff members are constantly maintaining contact with a myriad of VA programs to make sure our referrals are appropriate and our points of contact throughout the country are current.

We also maintain close ties with non-VA call centers, such as Military One Source, Wounded Warrior Project, DStressLine, Vets4Warriors, and 211/United Way to locate community services.

Some of our partners provide educational materials that we use to educate our callers: The National Center for PTSD, Make the Connection, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. The latter, along with NAMI, Al-Anon and Nar-Anon offer support groups for different issues. Free counseling services for Service Members, Veterans and their family members are available through Give An Hour, Soldiers Project, and Operation Family Caregiver.

If you have an organization that serves Veterans and their family members, and are interested in partnering with Coaching Into Care, call us at (888) 823-7458 or email us at 

Check out this Word Cloud from grateful callers!



News Flash     Remarks by Secretary Robert A. McDonald

 MyVA: VA’s Transformation Strategy: Examining the Plan to Modernize VA


Mission Statement:

Coaching Into Care is a national VA call center whose mission is to educate, support and empower family members and friends who are seeking care or services for a Veteran.

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The following is based on real cases that illustrate the work CIC does. All identifying information has been changed.

Jane called Coaching Into Care about her father, a Vietnam Veteran with increasing problems of isolation and insomnia. He was reluctant to seek help at the VA Medical Center due to the stigma he received from the public when he returned from combat several years ago. When she talked with him recently about seeking help, he admitted to feeling unwell but stated that he did not want to take medications or go to the medical center.


In this case, a CIC responder recommended she talk with her father about Vet Centers. These community centers are eligible only for combat veterans and are staffed by providers who are often Veterans themselves. They provide behavioral treatments and counseling rather than medication-based therapy.


After doing some “reconnaissance” on the Vet Center, Jane’s father felt more at ease about the idea of speaking with a provider who was a Veteran and who would not push medications. The following week, Jane’s father began weekly sessions with a counselor at his local Vet Center.


In another instance, Frank, a two-tour Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, called explaining that he would like help with his anxiety and depression. However, he was not eligible for VA health care due to a dishonorable discharge. A Coaching Into Care responder worked with Frank to get him connected to a Veterans Service Officer through American Legion so that he could begin an appeals process to change his dishonorable status. In the meantime, CIC recommended Frank contact a Give An Hour provider in his area, a service which provides free counseling to Veterans and their family members. Frank began therapy with a provider through Give An Hour until he was able to qualify for VA services.


Celebrating 5 years connecting Veterans and their family members to care!


When a Veteran you know needs help, please call Coaching Into Care at (888) 823-7458 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.

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Family success

Key Tips for Family Members

  • Participate in education and training programs that will prepare you to deal with the challenges that you may face in your family. Be aware of the resources that are available for you.
  • Manage your own stress and self-care by getting enough sleep, eating right, staying active and physically fit, taking breaks, doing things you enjoy, seeking support of family and friends, finding someone you can talk with to share your feelings and frustrations. Sometimes just having someone listen to you can provide enormous relief.
  • Do not pressure or force your Veteran into getting treatment. It rarely helps the situation. Instead, try to encourage him/her to be social for brief periods and work on creating positive interactions.

Key Steps to a Successful Conversation

  • Be honest, direct, and straightforward. State that you are concerned about how he/she is doing and offer to go with him/her to see someone if they would like.
  • Avoid blaming and dwelling on the Past.
  • Normalize experience when possible. For example, “I know that lots of military families go through this” or share something about your own experience in recovery.
  • Use “I” statements and messages and try to avoid “You” statements which can come off as critical or judgmental. For example, “I feel scared and angry when you yell at me.”
  • Respect the Veteran’s autonomy and choices. Remind your loved one that you understand it is up to him/her to decide to seek help.

Celebrating 5 years of helping callers have more successful conversations!

Let Coaching Into Care help you have more successful conversations with a Veteran about seeking care. Call us at (888) 823-7458 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern.


We will be hosting Facebook Live Chats in July and August to talk about the work Coaching Into Care does to support family members and friends in helping Veterans consider their treatment options. 

During this first Live Chat, we will be talking about some success stories in our work with callers.  

The second Live Chat will focus on the way in which family members and friends can express their concerns to Veterans about how they are doing, and ways they might be involved in supporting Veterans as they engage in treatment.  


CIC would like to thank and recognize colleagues who collaborated with us to promote or arrange care for our families and their Veterans:

  • Tina Fanello, LCSW, TBI Recovery Support Specialist, Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, Military Health System and the Defense Health Agency
  • Juliana Hallows, Suicide Prevention Coordinator, Fort Harrison, MT
  • Jeffrey F. Grandon, MHA, Social Media Program Manager, Digital Media Office, Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
  • Matthew Razak, Digital Engagement Specialist, Digital Media Office, VHA
  • Wendy Tenhula, Ph.D., Deputy Chief Consultant, Mental Health Services, VA Central Office, VHA
  • VACO Mental Health Summit Planning Committee
  • Rhett Herrera, Program Specialist, Communications, VHA
  • Jason Gdowik, Senior IT Strategist, The District Communications Group
  • Koby South, Make the Connection, VHA
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