STRENGTHEN will work to improve the mental protective mechanisms of CF and ER.
For many military service members, severe stress has had a variety of catastrophic impacts, including mental illness, substance misuse, post-traumatic stress disorder, family violence, and suicide. More than 30,000 active service personnel and veterans have committed suicide since Sept. 11, 2001, a terrible toll that is four times higher than the number of people killed in post-9/11 military operations. Strengthening Resilient Emotions and Nimble Cognition Through Engineering Neuroplasticity is the acronym for DARPA’s STRENGTHEN program, which aims to build on recent developments in neuroscience and clinical practice to improve well-being and prevent or lessen the effects of traumatic stress that can result in behavioral health disorders and suicidality. The program aims to achieve this by fostering emotional control and cognitive flexibility, two crucial behavioral health mechanisms that serve as protective barriers against severe stress. CF is the mental capacity to think about two different concepts simultaneously depending on the circumstances. ER is a method of starting, stopping, or otherwise modifying the course of emotion. STRENGTHEN will try to pinpoint, modify, and ultimately improve the brain circuits that cause CF.