Veteran Leadership Program Scholar organizations win VA’s Mission Daybreak grand challenge

These three Scholars are developing innovative solutions to reduce veteran suicides.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced last month the 10 winners of Mission Daybreak, a $20 million grand challenge aimed at developing innovations to reduce suicides in the veteran and military-connected population. Three Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program Scholar organizations were selected out of more than 1,300 submissions from veterans, veteran service organizations, community-based organizations, health technology companies, startups, and universities to receive prizes ranging from $500,000 to $3 million to be used toward this lifesaving work.  

Chris Meek, Co-Founder and Chairman of SoldierStrong  

Class of 2018 

Battle Buddy is a virtual human-led mental health and wellness application that promotes resiliency among veterans at risk for suicide. The app was created through a partnership between the SoldierStrong Foundation and the USC Institute for Creative Technologies. 

“Addressing the crisis of veterans taking their own lives requires more than recognizing, acknowledging, and even investing in prevention efforts. Solutions will come through innovative approaches that are only possible through relationships that share valuable information and capitalize on each partner’s strengths. Effectively leveraging real-time data via easy-to-implement technology will significantly enhance individual wellbeing and aid efforts to reduce the overall number of suicides. Working with such an exceptional partner as the University of Southern California Institute of Creative Technologies to create a life-changing – and life-saving – breakthrough of this scope is one of the very reasons SoldierStrong was founded.” 

Casey Woods, Executive Director of Overwatch Project / FORGE 

Class of 2021 

The Overwatch Project – a FORGE initiative – is a peer-based intervention program that empowers veterans to intervene with at-risk buddies, offering to temporarily hold onto their guns or take protective storage measures before it is too late.  

“We are honored and humbled to be recognized along with such a stellar group of innovators and advocates dedicated to preventing veteran suicide. This prize will fuel our lifesaving work, empowering veterans and service members with new tools to save lives.”  

Matt Miclette, Vice President of Clinical Operations at NeuroFlow 

Class of 2022  

NeuroFlow is a two-sided technology platform that offers veterans tailored resources and digital care 24/7 while measuring their evolving behavioral health needs to inform care teams of potential crises before they happen. 

“As a combat veteran-founded company, our mission at NeuroFlow is deeply rooted in a commitment to serve our veteran community. That’s why winning the Mission Daybreak prize with the VA is so meaningful in validating the work we are doing today. This program aims to prevent veteran suicide and improve mental health outcomes by expanding access to evidence-based digital tools and solutions. This is not just a business opportunity for us – it directly supports our efforts to make a real difference in the lives of those who have served. We are proud to work with the VA, the Military and Family Life Counseling program, the US Air Force and Space Force, and veteran service organizations to ensure that all veterans have access to the resources and support they need. Technology-enabled behavioral health infrastructure is critical to addressing the urgent need to prevent veteran suicide, and we are honored to play a role in that effort in conjunction with the VA, VHA, and the other Mission Daybreak winners.” 

The George W. Bush Institute’s Stand-To Veteran Leadership Program is focused on maximizing the impact of those who serve veterans and their families.