Resilient Hacks

The dominant theme in the military veteran’s curriculum is application of resilience strategies and social support as these are potentially protective of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and suicide, yet also improve academic retention and student success. This resilience course, an introduction to psychological resilience, is offered in conjunction with learning theory and leadership courses whereby instructional objectives are shared between the courses to encourage transfer of learning, the ability to relate a concept from one subject area to another. The instruction uses a learner centered approach to problem based learning (PBL). PBL does not focus on defined solutions, rather it encourages group collaboration and communication by clarifying problems, brainstorming and structuring solutions. A cohort-based social framework provides an integrative support system that reduces hyper-arousal and makes use of “veteranism,” or comradery, and trust. This approach does not pathologize readjustment, but instead focuses on resilience and education to practice positive adaptation in a nonclinical setting.

SERV Program, The American Veteran
Case Study: A Hispanic Combat Veteran Returns to College
Resiliency and Retention in Veterans Returning to College: Results of a Pilot Study

Building upon the success of the veterans program, the semester-long classes were redesigned as short-encounter training for first responders, to include EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement. A twelve-skill resilience program, again emphasizing social support, was developed as a one or two-day training or as a modular twelve-session training using a largely problem-based learning (PBL) delivery. These have been delivered in a variety of settings ranging from Peace Officer Safety Training (POST) training to fire and police academy experiences.

Suicides Affect Patients & EMS Providers, Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS)
An Evidence-based Program for Improving and Sustaining First Responder Behavioral Health, Journal of Emergency Medical Services (JEMS)

The twelve resilience skill resilience program has more recently been optimized into eight and five skills allowing more depth and exploration in a less fatiguing encounter while sustaining the same instructional outcome results. For most people, the family is core to social support and establishing common skills and a common resilience language greatly improves that experience. Thus, these resource materials are intended to help foster resilience and social support in the home, classroom, and workplace to help create a community of one.

The following diagram illustrates the condensing and overlapping of the twelve skill format into eight and, finally, into five skills. The five skill approach provides simplicity whereas the eight and twelve provide more detail.


Positive Coping Skills
We will define resilience as the development of skills needed to manage stress in an optimal way. Protective factors include development and sustainment of social support systems, spirituality as an access to a socially supportive community, and lifestyle practices of positive coping strategies, good self-esteem, self-efficacy and effective problem solving-skills. More »

Military Veteran
The military veterans program originated as a joint effort between the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System and the University of Arizona to address the reintegration of military veterans into an academic setting through resilience-based education. More »

A substantial body of evidence-based research supports both resilience and effective learning. The resilience skills presented here are representative of this research as are the methods for learning these skills. We refer to these resilience skills as positive-coping skills because our intent is to take a personal challenge and create a more positive and less stressful outcome. More »

Nursing and Healthcare
Nursing education programs are integrating resilience into their curricula to better deal with issues such as academic success, patient care, stress, burnout, and suicide. More »

First Responder
Building upon the success of the veterans program, the semester-long classes are redesigned as short-encounter training for first responders, to include EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement. More »

Suicide, PTSD and Stress
A brief literature review completed in the spring of 2016 discusses high-risk professions, risk factors, interventions, and protective factors. More »

Goal Setting
A look at goal setting as a method for persisting with a challenge. Includes a brief literature review completed in the spring of 2016 that discusses history and process. More »

A look at fitness as a factor in physical strength. Includes a brief literature review completed in the spring of 2016 that discusses evidence-based diet and exercise plans. More »

The Community
By definition, a community is a unified body of individuals. As a unified body we can become a social support system for each other to better deal with the challenges we face as a community of one. More »

Social Support
Current resilience models favor social connectives, or social support, as protective for dealing with stress and reducing suicide risk. More »

Because social support is essential to becoming resilient, you are expected to work with these learning materials in a setting with at least one other individual. Results show best outcomes when learning occurs in a group setting. The following materials are intended to aid you in learning resilience learning. A general resilience test that may be a used prior to learning and again sometime after learning is the Response to Stressful Experiences Scale available through GSA. RSES PDF » Consider a more focused summative post test following the learning. Evaluation PDF »