Research & Publications

Swords to Plowshares has developed several publications that highlight the issues facing our veteran community as resources to educate the community about these issues and propose solutions for veterans, advocates, service providers, and lawmakers.

Reference Guide

Reference Guide on Veterans and Their Families (May 2017)
This is a comprehensive guide for researchers, policy makers, advocates, and veterans. It covers demographics and cultural characteristics of veterans and their families, the scale and scope of veteran issues, and the availability and limitations of federal resources for veterans and families.

Mental Health

Traumatic Brain Injury among Veterans: A Toolkit for Behavioral Health and Social Service Providers (2017)
This Toolkit provides a framework of understanding traumatic brain injury (TBI) from a community behavioral health and social service perspective. Many veterans with TBI seek care from community systems for services that don’t fall under the typical umbrella of TBI therapy. Providers need to understand how TBI manifests throughout many aspects of a veteran’s life, such as housing, employment, legal assistance, and mental health needs. This practical guide includes research on impacts, screening tools, treatment considerations, and resources when working with veteran clients.

San Francisco Mental Health Summit Findings Report (2016)
This report summarizes the Mental Health Summit, jointly hosted by Swords to Plowshares, the San Francisco VA Health Care system and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and KQED Veterans Coming Home.  Participants focused discussion of access to care and suicide prevention around aging veterans, veterans with bad paper, women and LGBTQ veterans. The summary includes new resources, key challenges and proposed next steps to strengthen community approaches to care.

Right to Care: Voices of Swords to Plowshares’ Veteran Community (2016)
In Section 202 of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act (VACAA) of 2014, Congress established the Commission on Care, charging it to examine veterans’ access to Department of Veterans Affairs health care and to examine strategically how best to organize the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), locate health resources, and deliver health care to veterans during the next 20 years. In order to amplify the veteran narrative within the Commission on Care, Swords to Plowshares investigated access to VA and non-VA systems-of-care, and measured perceptions of the quality of services among the Swords to Plowshares veteran community. We conducted one-on-one in-depth interviews with 22 veteran clients and staff who have accessed VA care locally and throughout the country using a human-centered design for our user research.

Findings of the Aging Veteran Population: Impact of Military Service on Health Outcomes (2016)
This primer provides an overview of health indicators of aging veterans who are pre-disposed for a variety of physical and mental health issues impacted by their military service related injuries. Veterans ages 55 and older represent 66% (13.9 million) of the veteran population.

Military Sexual Trauma: Understanding Prevalence, Resources and Considerations to Care (2015)
Unlike other types of service related trauma, military sexual trauma (MST) is an interpersonal trauma, the dynamic of which has many implications for the service member’s career, perception of value in service, and moral foundation.  MST increases the risk for post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health conditions. This issue brief summarizes the various agency definitions, reporting parameters, and access to care; as well as provides policy treatment considerations for care of those who have experienced military sexual trauma

Veterans and Bad Paper Fact Sheet (2015)
This fact sheet covers circumstances that could lead to a servicemember being less than honorably discharged from the military, and subsequent issues with access to care from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Effectively Treating and Supporting Today’s Veterans: An online course offered in partnership with National Association of Social Workers (updated 2014)
This introductory course provides mental health practitioners with a working knowledge of common experiences and challenges faced by Post-9/11 veterans. Emerging trends and challenges are explored including the increased prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and military sexual trauma (MST) and increased risk of substance abuse, suicide, incarceration, violence, homelessness, and unemployment. The report details the role of the VA, available resources, and common barriers to services, particularly for women veterans.

Violence and Criminal Justice

Domestic Violence Fact Sheet (Fall 2014)
​This fact sheet presents factors in domestic violence among veteran families including obstacles to reporting abuse and unique factors which influence and may exacerbate common types of abuse.

Veterans and Criminal Justice: A Review of the Literature (2012)
This review focuses on veterans and criminal behavior stemming from service-related mental health issues, and highlights the need for more comprehensive care and support to prevent incarceration and justice involvement.


Self Assessment Handout for Student Veterans (2017)
This self-assessment is a tool for institutions of higher learning. It will help institutions take a look at how well-prepared they are for today’s military-connected students. Use this as a guide for educators, administration, and staff to engage in a community discussion about this important topic.


Toolkit for Providing Quality Veteran Employment and Training Programs (2015)
This toolkit was developed for veteran employment and training service agencies to improve their outreach tools, provide quality job training programs, and measure their impact.

Hiring and Supporting Veterans in the Workplace Fact Sheet (2014)
This fact sheet highlights avenues for human resource professionals and hiring managers to hire, retain, and support veterans in the civilian workplace.

VESS Summit Report, Northern California (2013)
This report shares the findings of the San Francisco Bay Area Veteran Employment Strategy Summit. The summit defined the value of hiring veterans, and explained veteran culture, myths, and how to translate military skills. It also focuses on developing a veteran hiring initiatives, recruiting veterans, retaining veterans, and the importance of social media.

VESS Summit Report, Southern California (2013)
This review shares the findings of the Veteran Employment Strategy Summit in Southern California. This summit highlighted the business benefits of hiring veterans, understanding the roadblocks veteran face in employment searches, understanding veteran culture, becoming “veteran friendly”, establishing partnerships, and the next steps to take to hire veterans.

Women Veteran Resources

Defining a New Age of Women Veteran Care: Findings from California Community Providers (2016)
This impact report reviews lessons learned and recommendations for improving health and wellness among women veterans based on our California Women Veterans Project which provided grants and technical  assistance to 22 community organizations.

Women Veteran Screening Guide (2015)
This guide provides organizations that serve women veterans clear, concise and effective information on how to identify women veterans within their organization, an understanding of women veteran issues and effective strategies to those issues.

Risk Factors for Women Veteran Homelessness Fact Sheet (2014)
This document lists various data and statistics on women veterans; as well as the issues facing women veterans, such as family identity and reintegration, mental health issues, military sexual trauma, domestic violence, veteran services, homelessness, poverty and unemployment.