COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)–Doctors and researchers at The Ohio State University College of Medicine are helping military veterans and first responders who are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health concerns.
U.S. Army veteran Brian Hatfield, from Toledo, Ohio took part in the “STRIVE” program at Ohio State to get to the heart of his past trauma in order to help him lead a more productive future.
“PTSD is a monster. It’s a monster and it’s not just one event, it’s an accumulation of all our careers,” said Hatfield.
“Strive stands for the suicide and trauma reduction initiative for veterans,” said Dr. Craig Bryan, Clinical Psychologist at The Ohio State University.
Hatfield served in the Ohio National Guard and the U. S. Army before spending most of his career as a decorated police officer and former Chief of the Kalida Police Department.
“Working undercover ten years ago up here in Toledo, and my cover got blown and they tried to kill me,” said Hatfield.
Brian survived the traumatic event. However, after he lost many of his fellow officers, Hatfield said his survival, combined with memories of his time in the military, led him to seek help from the “STRIVE” program for veterans.
“A common perspective of PTSD is that it’s really an injury of failed recovery or stalled recovery…we have not fully processed all the of the emotions and the thoughts and the memories associated with that event,” said Bryan.
Hatfield said the program helped him uncover that event and to be aware of moments that trigger an emotional response.
“LifeFlight flies over my house, sometimes if it catches me off guard or whatever, I have to defuse or play some music quick,” said Hatfield.
Hatfield said finding a purpose is key to combatting PTSD. He honors his brothers he lost in combat or in the line of duty with a special car he has decorated.
“I put the flag, the American flag on it to remember the fallen because I was supposed to be one of the fallen,” said Hatfield.
He has been invited to drive his special memorial car at the 20th Anniversary of the terrorist attack on 9-11 in New York City. He encourages fellow veterans or first responders who may be struggling to seek help from the “STRIVE” program and their loved ones.
“Support them, love them, let them know you’re there,” said Hatfield.
To learn more about applying for the program, visit: https://medicine.osu.edu/departments/psychiatry-and-behavioral-health/strive