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Wayne State University's School of Social Work recruits veterans for DOD-funded study on post-deployment counseling

February 5, 2014

Wayne State University's School of Social Work is inviting veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom to participate in a study on ways to keep veterans engaged in mental health counseling for post-deployment stress.

The novel study, "Using motivational enhancement therapy among OIF/OEF veterans returning to the community," is funded by the Detroit-Wayne County Community Mental Health Agency through a grant from the United States Department of Defense. The project will employ motivational enhancement intervention and peer support to move veterans through five "stages of change" intended to enhance their readiness to undergo treatment. Shirley Thomas, Ph.D., assistant professor of social work and co-director of the study, said the results of the study could lead to improved services for returning soldiers.

"Veterans face significant obstacles to receiving mental health counseling upon returning to service, including fear of stigmatization and negative career consequences, which can lead to poor follow-through with treatment referrals and higher dropout rates once treatment has started," said Thomas, who presents webinars and conferences as part of a Michigan Area Health Education Center (MI-AHEC) project to better educate health care professionals who work with veterans. "Our study will explore whether motivational enhancement and peer support can lead veterans to demonstrate greater readiness to change, to perceive treatment as more relevant, and to have better attendance at treatment programs."

Veterans interested in participating in the study should contact the School of Social Work at 313-577-0438. To be considered, veterans must have served in either OIF or OEF (or both) and live in Wayne County. Interested veterans will be given a 15-minute screening questionnaire to determine eligibility, for which they will receive a small incentive. Those selected for the study will be divided into treatment and control groups and receive additional small incentives.

The Department of Defense grant number is 11301006.