AUSTIN, Texas — The Institute for Military & Veteran Family Wellness is a new University of Texas at Austin institute that addresses the needs of military and veteran families by evaluating, developing and implementing programs that support these families.

The institute is a joint effort between the Steve Hicks School of Social Work and the Department of Psychiatry of Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin.

Institute director Elisa Borah said often times it's the spouses of veterans that encourage them to seek treatment.

"Veterans' challenges are their families' challenges," said Borah, "whether it's learning to live with a severe injury, coping with mental health issues or adjusting to civilian life."

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All of the institute's programs are research-based and developed in collaboration with healthcare providers. These programs are offered free of charge. The institute offers the following programs:

  • The Veteran Spouse Resiliency Group Program: Offers a safe space for spouses and committed partners of veterans to explore their unique experiences and challenges through online and in-person, peer-support groups.
  • The Veteran Spouse Network: A network of veteran spouses that can offer each other online and in-person support
  • The Veteran Couples Connect Program: Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment program for couples that teaches strategies to help reduce the impact of their symptoms on their relationship

In order to better understand crucial issues military and veteran families face, the institute also conducts research to evaluate its already existing programs.

Assistant dean for veteran affairs Dr. Michael Pignone said the institute is helping to advance the knowledge of both the medical and social needs of these families.

"There's a huge opportunity to better meet the health needs of Central Texas's veterans," said Dr. Pignone.

WATCH: Remains of veteran returns after decades overseas

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