Veterans COVID Survey Results: What We Learned
The Mission Continues infuses the pillars of personal growth, connectedness and community impact into everything we do. They represent our value proposition to veterans and a commitment to what they can expect when they serve with us. The impact we make collectively is the lifeblood of our mission—and is critical to our work in under-resourced communities across the country. Though COVID-19 has changed many of the ways we operate and engage, The Mission Continues’ veterans have not stopped connecting, learning or leading.
We recently surveyed veterans across our network to assess how they’re coping with challenges related to COVID. What they told us was illuminating, but not surprising. Like most of us, they are busy with work, family and school, and focusing on taking steps to stay healthy. The stressors they are feeling at this time are related largely to their emotional well-being and mental health. They’re acknowledging struggles with energy levels, social isolation and depression.
Our goal is to limit the risk of social isolation and lack of purpose, by providing opportunities for veterans to connect to each other and to important support networks, so that we can help combat the factors that negatively impact mental health. This pandemic has already taken too much—and we’re determined to do all we can to ensure no veteran feels alone, purposeless or forgotten.
We’ve been listening to our veterans and doubling down on events to make those connections easy. Over the past 60 days, we have:
- Hosted or scheduled more than 300 events to connect and engage veterans, families and support networks in unique ways—and are regularly adding new events weekly.
- Empowered more than 4,000 veterans to participate in service projects, peer-to-peer “buddy checks,” self-care workshops, and social and professional development events.
- Launched the application for our first-ever virtual Service Leadership Corps Program—an online track that is ideal for those who need the flexibility and convenience of an online format, but still want the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively lead service platoons in under-resourced communities.
We anticipate the road to recovery for many of our veterans and communities will be an arduous one. Our survey results validate the need to focus on expanding relationships with veterans and their families now, as we ready the crucial reserve of volunteers that will help us navigate COVID-19’s long-term effects on the country.
As we prepare to safely and thoughtfully return to in-person service in the coming weeks, we will continue to explore how virtual connections allow us to reach more veterans across the country. An expanded use of technology and remote learning may help to remove barriers so that veterans can access crucial social and peer support to improve and monitor their mental health. So while we’re looking forward to serving alongside each other and our community partners, we’re embracing the opportunity to bring a sense of connection, well-being and purpose to veterans regardless of where they live.
Mary Beth Bruggeman
President, The Mission Continues