Cards for Connection is a free resource that puts simple coping skills and VA phone numbers directly into Veterans’ hands. Originally created for Veterans who had experienced homelessness, the card deck has now been updated with information for all Veterans.
The 52 cards in the deck have easy-to-implement coping skills and important phone numbers, such as the Veterans Crisis Line and the Help for Homeless Veterans line.
As a result, Veterans playing a game of cards read positive affirmations, reminders to breathe, and encouragement to make a connection with others.
Cards for Connection hopes to help Veterans cope with different situations.
Developing Cards for Connection
Input from Veterans and the VA staff that work with them helped to inform the messages on the cards.
Some Veterans reported great feedback. Many wanted to see phone numbers on the cards, whether to see a doctor, find a safe place to sleep, or ask about VA resources.
“I like the feel of them. I was noticing the texture, it’s nice,” said one Veteran.
Another Veteran said, “I love this picture. If you’re in a [bad place], and you actually have a picture of something beautiful to look at, that’s something great.”
Veteran feedback will update future versions
VA will collect additional feedback on the cards via anonymous pre-addressed/stamped postcards. It will also collect from focus groups and anonymous staff surveys. VA will use this information to update future versions.
How do I get a deck of Cards for Connection?
There are about 8,000 decks available for any Veteran who could benefit from using them. Requests for a deck from Veterans can be sent to Katherine.Juhasz@va.gov.
Cards for Connection are free for Veterans – they were developed with support from the VHA Innovators Network, which helps identify, create, disseminate, and sustain innovative practices like this one.
For more details on PTSD and how to treat it, read 8 Things to Know About PTSD.
Katherine Juhasz is a Health Science Specialist working for the National Center for PTSD, Dissemination & Training Division. She focuses on the development of educational resources for Veterans, VA staff, and the general public.