STRIVE’s Dedication to Suicide Prevention | Bob Woodruff Foundation

STRIVE’s Dedication to Suicide Prevention

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Suicide is a pressing concern, particularly among military personnel, veterans, and first responders. These populations face unique challenges that can contribute to mental health issues and suicide risk. Our Got Your 6 Network partner Suicide and Trauma Reduction Initiative for Veterans (STRIVE) offers hope in the fight against suicide in veteran communities. STRIVE is recognized for its dedication to research, education, outreach, and advocacy. The organization’s focus is on improving the lives of military personnel, veterans, and first responders and their families. 

A Clear Mission and Expertise

The high suicide rates among veterans have been a cause for concern for many years. From 2001 to 2017, there was a surge in veteran suicides, prompting the need for effective intervention and prevention programs. Fortunately, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 2022 National Veterans Suicide Prevention Annual Report, there has been a 4.8% decrease in suicide rates among veterans from 2019 to 2020. This decline is encouraging. It also highlights the ongoing need for specialized programs, which have played a pivotal role in reversing this grim trend. 

STRIVE’s mission revolves around two critical areas of expertise: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and suicide risk. This focus enables the organization to deepen its understanding and develop highly effective interventions for individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts and PTSD.  

Dr. Craig Bryan, Program Director of STRIVE, is a board-certified clinical psychologist. His expertise is in cognitive-behavioral treatments for individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A leading researcher in the suicide prevention space and a veteran—he deployed to Iraq in 2009—Dr. Bryan has worked extensively with military personnel, veterans and first responders. His military service impacts his clinical work. And his research focus and shapes his understanding of his patients’ stresses and problems.  

According to Dr. Bryan, “Our two areas of expertise are PTSD and suicide risk. We have a narrower focus, and that is deliberate. The narrower focus enables our team to become experts in these topics.” This purposeful specialization is at the core of STRIVE’s success. 

Mental Health Care That Produces Results 

An impressive aspect of STRIVE’s work is its ability to produce tangible results. According to their data, military personnel and veterans who receive treatment through STRIVE have experienced up to a 76% reduction in suicide attempts. This statistic is a testament to the effectiveness of STRIVE’s interventions, providing hope to those who might have lost it. 

Moreover, over 70% of service members and veterans who have received services from STRIVE no longer meet the criteria for PTSD after completing their treatment. This statistic highlights STRIVE’s dedication to addressing the root causes of mental health issues and not merely managing symptoms. The organization’s approach to care focuses on healing and recovery, offering individuals a chance to regain control of their lives. 

STRIVE not only treats military members and veterans, but also the ones closest to them, their families. A veteran joined the program at Ohio State University for help treating his PTSD and suicidal thoughts. After completing the program, he was free from the debilitating weight on his mind that he carried post-war. He was able to move forward. Nearly a decade later, his wife began to suffer from suicidal thoughts. Her husband brought her to STRIVE at Ohio State University. STRIVE members informed the wife that she would receive the same treatment her husband did. This information inspired her to receive needed help.  

Commitment to Evidence-Based Mental Health Care and Advocacy 

STRIVE’s commitment to evidence-based practices and clinical trials is a cornerstone of its success. As one of the leading research sites for clinical trials on suicide treatment, prevention, and intervention, STRIVE is at the forefront of innovative approaches to mental health care. Their research not only informs their own programs but also contributes valuable insights to the broader field of mental health. 

STRIVE’s workshops and treatment programs are developed based on the latest research. This ensures that the programs remain on the cutting edge of suicide prevention and PTSD treatment. This dedication to research and clinical trials means that STRIVE’s interventions evolve to address their target populations’ changing needs. 

In addition to its clinical work and research, STRIVE places a strong emphasis on outreach and advocacy. They recognize that changing the narrative around mental health and suicide is essential to reducing stigma and encouraging individuals to seek help. 

A Bright Future for STRIVE 

Recently, STRIVE has partnered with other departments to address other areas of suicide risk. For example, the military medicine program at OSU collaborates with the Department of Plastic and Reconstructive surgery. Together, they help treat veterans’ mental health during and after amputations.  

As Dr. Bryan mentioned, STRIVE’s goal is to expand its outreach nationally and globally. Through public awareness campaigns, educational initiatives, and collaboration with other organizations, STRIVE has been instrumental in shifting the conversation around mental health within the military, veteran, and first responder communities and will continue to do so.  

The decrease in veteran suicide rates from 2019-20 is encouraging. However, work is needed support the mental health and well-being of military personnel, veterans, and their families. STRIVE’s expertise in PTSD and suicide risk and commitment to providing high quality care offers hope for those who have served. 

STRIVE is a gold star standard of what can be achieved when dedication, advanced medical expertise, and a focused mission come together. The organization’s success in reducing suicide risk and helping individuals overcome PTSD is indicative of their

commitment to evidence-based practices, clinical research, and unwavering advocacy. By working to reduce stigma and promote open dialogue, they break down barriers to care and ensure that those in need receive the support they deserve. 

The Bob Woodruff Foundation continues to address the mental health crisis within these communities., Organizations like STRIVE remind us that with the right resources, research, and dedication, we can make a difference in the lives of those battling long lasting effects of war. Their work not only saves lives but also restores hope and dignity for a very bright future

Veterans Crisis Line

If you or someone you know is experiencing feelings of isolation or contemplating suicide, reach out to someone at the Veterans Crisis Line. Dial 988, then press 1, or text 838255.