Finding people in the community to connect with can be challenging for anyone, particularly now, when a pandemic has upended social habits and lifestyles. A lack of social connection over time can lead to isolation, feelings of loneliness and lower physical and mental health. However, this is preventable.

Just like drinking enough water or getting enough sleep, social connection can have immense benefits on overall health. Veterans, VA and community leaders are working together to develop Veteran communities across the country that foster social connection and improve Veteran social health.

VOICES, veterans outreach into the community to expand social supportThrough VOICES events, Veterans come together in public spaces to enjoy, support and connect with one another. Whether meeting at restaurants, bowling alleys or Veteran-serving organizations, these informal gatherings build Veteran community support.

VOICES began with weekly community gatherings hosted by peer specialists at VA Bedford Healthcare System. VOICES is now operating in 11 states nationwide and growing.

Get involved

The VOICES team developed and refined materials to better reach a broad range of Veterans and provide Veterans and peer specialists with resources to establish local VOICES events.

VOICES events aim to create an inclusive space in every community enabling Veterans to connect, and any Veteran or Veteran-centric organization can start a VOICES event in their community.

The Quick Start Guide explains how to make this goal a reality in a few easy steps:

  • Designing,
  • Organizing, and
  • Implementing.

Engaging with a local Veteran Service Officer, VA and Veteran-serving organization can make creating a VOICES event even easier.

Connect with friends, find resources, assist other Veterans and community members where they live, and become a part of this local, statewide and national effort to build support systems for (and with) Veterans.

Resources

  • Visit the VOICES webpage and watch the VOICES Explainer Video to learn more about these social events.
  • If you’re a Veteran looking for support, reach out to the Vet Center Call Center confidentially 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 877-927-8387.
  • Use the VA facility locator tool to find a Vet Center location near you.
  • If you or a Veteran you know is in crisis, contact the Veterans Crisis Line, available 24/7. Call 800-273-8255 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at net/Chat.
  • To find resources for service members, Veterans, their family members and caregivers, explore the National Resource Directory.
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