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MIRECC Matters - Fall 2023

A publication of the VISN 5 MIRECC - MIRECC Matters - Putting Recovery into Practice

A Peer Specialist’s Perspective on Facilitation of WoVeN in VA

Written by: Tracy Robertson, CPRS

WoVeN in VA (Women Veterans Network in VA) is a new opportunity in the VA that is based on the original WoVeN program that is currently offered in the community. One main feature of WoVeN in VA is that it’s an eight-week group, led by peer specialists that focuses on themes such as life transitions, balance, self-esteem, stress relief, trust and building connections. Another feature of WoVeN in VA is to support women Veterans to build and maintain connections within the VA and their local and national communities, including the WoVeN National Network. The only criteria are that one must identify as a woman and be enrolled in VA healthcare. A mental health diagnosis is not necessary.

As a Veteran myself, I have always felt that the VA could offer more services and groups to women Veterans, and this was my chance to be a part of that opportunity. After going through the application process to be part of this 2nd phase of a pilot project to offer WoVeN in VA, I was accepted into the three-day facilitator training followed by six months of consultation. The training consisted of my peers and I going through the group ourselves with the trainers. This was such a wonderful and positive experience because now I truly know what it feels like to be a group member, not just a facilitator. Our group seemed to really connect to one another, and I felt a bond with the other women. I felt more free to share certain issues, that some of the other women talked about as well, especially without men in the group. and There were so many similarities between all of us.

One of the requirements for the training was that we had to conduct two different cohorts of the eight-week group. I completed both of those and continue to offer the group. I have received feedback during the groups from several Veterans that having an all-women’s group was welcomed and “about time”. Some women discussed that they have not shared as much in a mixed group as they did in this group. Some connections were made among these Veterans outside of the group, and they go out to dinner or do other activities. This is one of the main goals, to find friendships and connect with each other. I feel very privileged to be able to continue to facilitate this group. I believe it is so important for women Veterans to find their “battle buddies”, as WoVeN in VA calls it, and to have more access to other resources in the community. I look forward to facilitating the WoVeN in VA group for a very long time. If you are a peer specialist who is interested in this training, be on the lookout for any announcements on the peer-list serve for the next scheduled training.

For VA staff interested in learning more about WoVeN in VA, check out the Women’s Mental Health Peer Support Services Sharepoint: WMH Peer Support Services (

If you are a Veteran who is interested in learning more about whether WoVeN in VA is being offered at your facility, please check with your VA provider.

For more information about WoVeN in the community, check out their website: WoVeN I Women Veterans Network I (


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