Joining Forces

ANA logo Joining Forces logo Dept of Veterans Affairs logo


AAACN is proud to support the Joining Forces initiative by inspiring and preparing our members and colleagues to recognize the unique health and wellness concerns of our military population, and thereby improving the lives of those who have sacrificed to preserve our freedom.


Joining Forces is First Lady Michelle Obama's comprehensive national initiative, to mobilize all sectors of the community to give our service members, veterans, and their families the support they deserve, particularly when it comes to employment, education, and wellness.

The American Nurses Association (ANA), the voice of 3.1 million nurses, and the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA), experts in veterans care, have partnered to facilitate and coordinate a collective voice of the nursing profession in full support of "Joining Forces."

Even though the VA cares for over 8 million veterans, almost half of veterans and many of their family members will seek care in community settings outside the military and VA systems. Because nursing is the largest healthcare workforce and is present in every community, we care for our military service members, veterans, and their families in every professional setting and know the wounded warriors as our own personal family, friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

Every nurse should be equipped to understand and recognize the signs of PTSD, TBI, depression and suicide risk and to know where to send our service members and veterans for help. We also want to support their families who have sacrificed much and may be struggling.

The First Lady is passionate about ensuring our military and veterans' mental health needs are addressed. The White House has asked us to stand together and demonstrate leadership on this issue to improve the quality of care to our military service members, veterans, and families.


News and Initiatives

Free Course Helps Providers Understand Veterans' Needs

The Veterans Health Administration is providing a free online course to help private sector healthcare providers to understand the special needs of the veteran population.
Learn more about the course.

Veterans Crisis Line Available

Each month, the Veterans Crisis Line receives over 22,000 calls from military veterans, who account for 20% of all suicides in the U.S. each year.

Recently, a film about the Veterans Crisis Line titled Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary short category. #OscarNoms. Learn more about the Veterans Crisis Line,  or view the film.

Psychological and Pharmacological Treatments for Adults with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

A new, free continuing-education monograph from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)’s Effective Health Care (EHC) Program finds that several psychological and pharmacological treatment options are effective at reducing the symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder.
View the description

Suffering from Concussions?

The VA has developed an app that will assist with diagnosis and treatment of concussions. Find out about the uses for the app and how to get it.

From the War Zone to the Home Front

From the War Zone to the Home Front: Supporting the Mental Health of Veterans and Families

Welcome to this free, online training series that helps health care professionals in the community recognize and address the challenges faced by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and their families.

The series is presented as a community service by the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital Home Base Program and the National Center for PTSD, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Are You a Caregiver for a Veteran?

The Veterans Health Administration has developed a free on-line course to help you understand veteran issues and cope with the stress of caregiving. NOTE: This information is being shared with members and colleagues through the Joining Forces initiative.
Read about this valuable program

Warrior Care Newsletter

The Warrior Care Policy Newsletter focuses on programs designed to assist recovering service people and their families. Each quarter the newsletter can be downloaded.
View the most recent edition

27 Things You should Know about PTSD

To mark PTSD Awareness Day, here is a list of “27 Things to Know” about post-traumatic stress disorder. The list is compiled from our experts at VA’s National Center for PTSD. The Center conducts research and provides education on trauma and PTSD.
View the List

Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions

A Toolkit for Veteran Friendly Institutions was created by the American Council on Education (ACE) and is designed to help institutions of higher education build effective programs for veteran students and share information. It highlights a variety of best practices and includes video clips, profiles of student veterans programs across the U.S., and a searchable database of tools and resources.
Access the Toolkit

Hear how Treatment for PTSD Turned Lives Around

AboutFace is an online video gallery dedicated to Veterans talking about living with PTSD and how treatment turned their lives around. Meet men and women who speak candidly about PTSD symptoms, stigma, and the effects of PTSD on family and friends.

How can providers use AboutFace videos to help their clients? Here is what Dr. Matthew Friedman, Executive Director, VA’s National Center for PTSD says:

"These raw, disarming and unsparing descriptions of how PTSD affected personal trajectories and interpersonal relationships are very instructive. AboutFace should help clinicians achieve a better understanding regarding the ambivalence that characterizes most treatment-seeking behavior and, most importantly, help them engage their Veteran clients with empathy, authenticity and humility."

View AboutFace Videos.

PTSD Monthly Update

The PTSD Monthly Update is distributed by the VA National Center for PTSD. The update includes PTSD news, information, and relevant products. The updates are for all audiences.
Subscribe to the PTSD Monthly Update.

Video Updates

AANP Video Supports Joining Forces

The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) introduced a very exciting and informative video at their 27th annual conference. The video features nurse practitioners and Captain Paul S. Hammer, MC USN, Director, Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) sharing important tips to accurately diagnose and treat patients with conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.
View the Video.