The CreatiVets songwriting program pairs veterans with accomplished songwriters and music artists to allow them the opportunity to creatively express their story through a song. The veteran travels to Nashville, Tennessee, where he or she is met by a veteran that has gone through the program and can help make the veteran comfortable with the experience, and then participates in a songwriting session to write a song that is recorded and made available for the veteran to share with family and friends. Through the songwriting sessions, veterans are provided with an opportunity to tell their stories in a different way, and they take something from the program that they can keep forever.
The songs are written to capture the veteran’s personal story so that it is their voice talking about their experiences, but in a way that captures certain universal experiences that others can understand and often relate to. Following the experience, the veterans not only have their own song to listen to or play whenever they want, but they also have a new strategy for helping themselves cope with anxiety and depression. Many participating veterans have taken it upon themselves to learn how to play the guitar after they return from the songwriting program, and they continue to write songs on their own, which furthers the healing process.