Strive Health: Recovery services for veterans, first responders and their families

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The ribbon is officially cut on Strive Health, a new outpatient addiction treatment center on Elm Street, focused especially on the needs of veterans and first-responders. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

MANCHESTER, NH – Strive Health has arrived in Manchester to “change the whole conversation” about addiction treatment. It is a private, veteran and family-owned operation, part of a national network of outpatient addiction treatment clinics with a focused mission: providing community-centered treatment for those seeking recovery from addiction.  

In particular, Strive is dedicated to the recovery of military veterans and first responders, and their families, through its affiliation with Veteran & First Responder Healthcare. In addition to its newest outreach in Manchester, Strive also operates clinics in Greensburg, PA., and Paramus, NJ. 

Strive staff and local supporters gathered inside the newly renovated office at 1750 Elm St. Thursday for a ribbon cutting. Among those in attendance were Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan, representing the city’s Safe Station program, Marty Boldin, who serves as NH’s Policy Advisor on Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, and Mayor-elect Joyce Craig. 

Opening remarks were delivered by Dr. John Rodolico, who serves as Chief Clinical Officer of Strive Health, and is past Chief of Behavioral Health in the Massachusetts National Guard, where he spearheaded many projects dealing with suicide, substance abuse, and resiliency, while also serving as the Director of Training, Co-Occurring Institute and Director of the Military Consultation Service at McLean Hospital.

Rodolico said working with Strive Health is his “dream job,” because of the level of compassion extended to every person who walks through the door seeking help.

He spoke about how he entered the Army reserves, serving as Executive Officer of a combat stress company, “which is a whole group of mental health professionals wearing military gear and firing weapons,” said Rodolico.

“Talk about herding cats. That was my job, herding cats,” Rodolico said. “I had two deployments, to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the most critical thing that happened to me was after my second deployment, it struck me that we were sending young men and women out into battle every single day to kick down doors and do their mission. And so, when I came back, it would be my mission to continue to help those same men and women,” said Rodolico. 

Manchester Fire Chief Dan Goonan, right, with, from left, Strive Health co-founders and CEOs Eric Frieman and Michael Evans, and CEO, Veteran and First Responder Healthcare, Eric Golnick. Photo/Jeffrey Hastings

Clinical services, under the supervision of Rodolico and Dr. Robert L. Pyles, incorporate cognitive behavioral techniques and other evidence-based practices such as Motivational Enhancement Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Twelve Step Facilitation, centered around Trauma-Informed Care, to get at the root causes of a clients’ addiction and disorders to more effectively treat them.

Understanding that addiction in a high percentage of cases goes hand-in-hand with co-occurring mental health issues is what underscores the need for one-on-one clinical counseling and guidance, said Fire Chief Goonan, who spoke briefly about what he’s learned since taking on Safe Station in 2016.

“We see people every day out there using crack and meth, whatever they can get their hands on. Right now, Spice is out of control with our homeless population – we see everything,” Goonan said.

“Once we get them into respite, for maybe four or five days while they try to find the most appropriate treatment, it becomes a balancing act. People with different types of insurances go to different treatment centers, but we’re seeing lives change, and people coming back every day for services,” Goonan said.

“The reason why I’m so invested in this, and I like talking about Safe Station, is because it’s such an important thing for Manchester. I’m a townie – I’ve grown up here and I see what’s happening to the community, and I just want to make a change in the best way I can,” Goonan said.

“I came into this thinking I’d have a lane, and that I’d just stay in my lane. But it’s become a superhighway. We’ve gone to over 800 overdose calls, and we’ve had 2,700 people come through Safe Station,” Goonan said. “Having a new partner here, for us, is like a breath of fresh air.”

Michael Evans, who is a co-founder of Strive along with Eric Frieman, said they see a big need in Manchester for outreach to veterans.

“We’ve been working closely with the VA here, and we know that PTSD is a real issue,” said Evans, for those who’ve more recently returned from war, but also Vietnam veterans, who have spent the better parts of their adult lives grappling with the trauma of their experiences in the military, and the post-traumatic fallout.

Evans says Strive strongly supports community-based treatment over residential, and likened it to the “pull in, push out” educational philosophy – pulling those in need of recovery in to a program where they can maintain their everyday lives, rather than pushing them out to a short-term residential center.  Strive’s tagline, “Recovery in the Real World,” aims toward long-lasting outcomes, rather than a revolving door or placements, says Evans.

“We’re going to be asking this community for help. We’re not going to be passive. We’re aggressively going to go out into this community and we’re going to fight for the lives of those who are suffering,” Evans said.

Services Offered

  • screening and assessment
  • individual counseling
  • group counseling
  • family counseling
  • couples counseling
  • psychoeducation
  • interventions
  • medication management

FAQs: Strive Health at a Glance

Q. How quickly can I get an appointment?

Appointments are available within 24 hours of a first phone call. (1-888-224-7312.)

Q. What do services cost?

Care is individualized so costs may vary, but the goal is highest quality care at lowest prices. The outpatient model limits the high costs of repeated residential stays and the travel and fragmented care associated with them. Strive offers a wide array of in-network insurance contracts and other flexible plans so that payment for services is never a barrier. 

Q. Is medication available to help with cravings?

Physical cravings can be alleviated in many ways. Strive Health works with you and experts in the medical, behavioral and holistic fields to determine what combination of interventions will meet an individual’s needs.

Q. Must clients attend AA?

No, although Strive encourages any and all community support that a person may find helpful during recovery. Experience shows that participation in programs like AA, NH, Smart Recovery and Al Anon result in better outcomes for patients and their families.

Q. What is ‘Recovery for the Real World’?

Outpatient recovery allows clients to maintain their daily life in their home and in the real world. Helping clients learn the critical skills that allow them to heal and recover while sustaining their everyday life connections is the essence of Strive.

For more information:

Strive Center for Recovery and Community Health

1750 Elm St., Suite 103, Manchester




About Carol Robidoux 5970 Articles
Longtime NH journalist and publisher of Loves R&B, German beer, and the Queen City!