A new online training program is making it easier to tackle school for service members staying on active duty or transitioning out of the military.
“The GRIT training is going to help them understand that they’re not in it alone, and there are a lot of resources and people on campus and in the community here to help them with this new challenge,” said Jerome Young, military and veteran outreach coordinator at UCCS. “In the military, you’re surrounded with ways of being resilient and how to overcome obstacles, but it’s a good [reinforcement of] that type of training to help people basically understand themselves.”
GRIT (Greater Resilience Information Toolkit) was created at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and promoted to El Paso County residents in partnership with El Paso County Public Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Colorado Springs and AspenPointe. Its goal is, “to help you tap into your own personal strength and resilience — equipping you with the tools to overcome whatever challenges today (or tomorrow) throws your way,” the website reads.
The free, self-paced, 5-hour online training can be watched anywhere with internet access and on any device.
Young, a retired U.S. Army captain, believes the GRIT training can especially help those preparing to leave the service.
“It is pretty stressful when somebody like me who retired after 20 years [leaves the military,] and now your identity’s changed to take on something new and different,” he said. “The training can really help you with dealing with that stress.”
Additionally, Young said it can also help military spouses who are considering going to school.
“We talk a lot about the military member transitioning, but a spouse, they transition as well,” he said. “They also have to constantly change jobs because of moving to another location so it’s pretty stressful, but if they go through the GRIT training they can understand that the resources are there.
“It gives them the tools to help understand that it is a challenge but there are ways to navigate through that challenge.”
From the GRIT website, here’s what someone can expect to take away from the training:
Gain a basic understanding of resilience, common stress responses in disasters, and stress-related problems
Develop tools to help build strength and resilience among your friends and family — and throughout your community
Learn how to support and listen to someone who is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic or another hardship
Strengthen your coping skills, self-efficacy, and resilience while helping others around you do the same
Know the signs for when a formal mental health counselor might be needed, and how and where to refer your friends and loved ones
Gain access to valuable community resources and learn how to guide individuals to more resources when needed
For Young, the GRIT training was similar to lessons he learned on how to be a leader in the military.
“When you’re a leader in the military, you go through a lot,” he said. “I deployed four times, and you go through a lot during that time. We lost soldiers; I lost soldiers.
“This training was compatible with what the military taught us as leaders, to be able to help others be resilient and overcome some of the stressors. I think it’s really great to be seeing it offered on the civilian side.”
Meanwhile, Young said like most people right now, those in the military community are also dealing with extra stressors brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For instance, student veterans, they’re being challenged to take on a different platform of learning when they’re used to face to face, so they’re more stressed,” he said. “COVID is adding a lot of stress towards really anyone in academics, anyone going through certain transitions, things like that.
“But the GRIT training, it brings a bunch of people of different backgrounds together to help people get through all of it and know there are resources out there to help them.”
Visitletstalkgrit.com for more information about the free, GRIT online training.