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Press Release | June 23, 2022

SAFE Project announces wellness program supporting veterans in their transition from service

SAFE Project, a national nonprofit addressing the addiction epidemic, launched its new veteran wellness program, “SAFE Veterans: Journey from Coping to Thriving” during a webinar showcase earlier today. The showcase was attended by service providers, veterans, service members, and their families and caregivers. Designed in collaboration with Walmart, Wounded Warrior Project, and Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems (OWLS), the program empowers veterans who face mental health challenges and substance use disorder to ensure a smooth transition from service and thrive as veterans.

“Suicide rates remain high for veterans and they are twice as likely to die from an accidental overdose than any other member of society,” said Jeff Horwitz, veteran and Chief Operating Officer at SAFE Project. “This program tackles these challenges head on by providing veterans with the tools needed to be prepared for stressful situations, cope with emotions they may face on their journey to wellness and most importantly, re-discover themselves.”

A pilot of this program in San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Mayport, Fla. resulted in 90% of respondents reporting improvement in understanding their strengths, developing stress and coping methods, resource-seeking skills and setting aspirational goals.

One respondent shared, “I lost my spouse last year, and my whole world turned upside down. Ever since his loss, I’ve been lost and stuck in a hole, not wanting to climb out…I had no coping skills for the loss. The course gave me tools to use to at least see a light in all my blackness.”

Another said, “This training has me feeling hopeful and happy that I may get through the [Veteran Affairs] system this time and not give up.”

The showcase provided information on how OWLS’ Dr. Joel Bennett and his team developed the evidence-based “From Coping to Thriving” veteran wellness program. The showcase also showed how you can bring this program to your organization, and also included testimonials from past participants and leaders:

  • Stephanie Gattas, CEO and Founder of The Pink Berets
  • Robert Buehn, University of North Florida Director, Military and Veterans Resource Center and retired Navy Captain; and
  • Rebecca Weidensaul, Ph.D., Drexel University Vice President of Student Life and Director of Office of Student Veteran Services.

“This program focused on individual strengths as the anchor of resilience and growth,” said Weidensaul. “Our veterans are equipped with talent, experience, emotional and social intelligence more than they realize, and this program helps to remind them of these strengths.”

The program consists of six 50-minute training modules which includes online recordings, exercises, and worksheets.

For more information about the program, please watch this video. If you have further inquiries about SAFE Veterans: Journey from Coping to Thriving, please contact us at veterans@safeproject.us.