Background: Veterans have higher rates of anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and may be vulnerable to mental health consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic. More than half of veterans who meet mental illness criteria do not seek help. This study screened for clinical symptoms and evaluated the efficacy of a brief, online social-contact-based video intervention in increasing treatment-seeking intentions among veterans. We hypothesized that the video-based intervention would increase treatment-seeking intentions more than written vignette and control conditions. Methods: One hundred seventy-two veterans were randomized to either a (a) brief video-based intervention; (b) written vignette intervention, or (c) nonintervention control group. In the 3-min video, a veteran previously diagnosed with PTSD described his symptom reactivation by Covid-19, his barriers to care, and how therapy helped him to cope. Assessments were conducted at baseline, postintervention, and at 14- and 30-day follow-ups. Results: A total of 91 (53%) veterans reported high levels of clinical symptoms, especially those self-reporting Covid-19 exposure. The brief video-based intervention yielded greater increase in treatment-seeking intentions among veterans. Within the video group, women showed an increase in treatment-seeking intentions from baseline to postintervention only, whereas men showed a more sustained effect, from baseline to Day 14. Conclusions: Surveyed veterans reported high symptoms levels. A brief video intervention increased treatment-seeking intention, likely through identification and emotional engagement with the video protagonist. This easily disseminable video-based intervention has the potential to increase likelihood of seeking care. Future research should examine longer term sustainability and changes in help-seeking behavior.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health