Vet to Vet

Vet to Vet is a self-help program where veterans help other veterans live with mental illness, overcome substance abuse, and deal with other issues they face in their lives. Participants work every day towards lives that are stable, safe, and sober. The program provides a place for mutual self-help, support meetings, and incorporates practices from other mental health programs.  Vet to Vet gives veterans their own forum, where they can talk together about the mental, health, emotional, and life issues they share. It is unique because these are veteran-run meetings and not attended by program staff. 


For more about Vet to Vet, click here:

At ECCC, there are five Vet to Vet group meetings each week:


  • Recovery, using The Recovery Workbook: Practical Coping and Empowerment Strategies for People with Psychiatric Disability, by LeRoy Spaniol, Martin Koehler, and Dori Hutchinson.
  • Disability Awareness/Disability Pride, a course where groups refer to the books Don’t Call Me Nuts, by Robert Lundin, and Transforming Madness, by Jay Nuegeboren.
  • Writers Meeting, where the group generates material from ideas exchanged at meetings, some of which are used in the Disability Awareness/Disability Pride course.
  • Mental Illness Anonymous (MIA), based on Alcoholics Anonymous’ 12-step program, and published by MIA Press. Groups deal with mental illness and all forms of abuse (e.g., substance, verbal, physical). 
  • Wellness, based upon wellness training materials created by Eli Lilly and others.


The Vet to Vet Preamble states:


  • We are proud to be part of the Vet to Vet program.
  • We are proud to be part of an alliance with family members, professionals, and other mental health consumers.
  • We work together out of a sense of shared respect and dignity.
  • We work to improve and increase mental health services through community education and services.
  • We work together, not against one another.
  • We try to find solutions through education, hence our motto, “Gladly Teach. Gladly Learn.”
  • We believe that people with a psychiatric condition and our families, friends, and advocates have the right to services and information that assist them to make informed choices.
  • We believe that services for people with psychiatric conditions should be driven by them.
  • We believe that our program should focus on the functional needs of the veteran with mental illness, with possible family involvement.
  • We believe that education and community service aimed at recovery can lead to job opportunities in mental health services.
  • We are veterans in a self-help program called “Vet to Vet.” 


Moe Armstrong on Vet to Vet
In 1997, I started the Peer Educators project in Massachusetts. In 2002 I came back to my work with Mental Illness Anonymous and started “Vet to Vet” at the Errera  CCC, which was also a research project with the MIREC. Then in 2005, after publicity at a conference on Peer Support, in Memphis, Vet to Vet spread throughout the country.   Vet to Vet started at ECCC and this is the epicenter of the program. People come here to train in Vet to Vet.

I’m an ex-recon guy that developed a mental illness and we’re getting through.


About Vet to Vet

The program is not based on strong leaders, rather, the program is based on mutuality.  It is a learning teaching process, where we try to get people to learn and teach simultaneously.  We say “gladly teach, gladly learn.”  We also identify future facilitators at the meetings.  When I attend meetings I try to enjoy what we have built.  I do not facilitate.


The Future of Vet to Vet


The future of Vet to Vet is the same as the future of all mental health.  Mental health was not set up as a prevention model, rather, it was set up as a crisis model.  Vet to Vet teaches people to recognize the triggers that might set a person on a downward spiral of mental illness.  With Vet to Vet we will suffer from these conditions, but we will cope and not be disabled by them.  We will be able to live with our illness. 


NEW!  For more about Moe and to read some of his poetry, click here:

To see a video about Moe receiving his medals, click here:!/on-air/as-seen-on/Vietnam-Veteran-Gets-Medals/168957926


This is a website maintained by Veterans and volunteers. While the contents of this site have been developed in cooperation with VA personnel, it is not an official site of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

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May 11, 2010, 12:17 PM
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Jul 28, 2010, 11:00 AM