A new app will connect veterans with other veterans to talk through trauma, Mashable reports.
Many veterans experience trauma in combat, which can lead to mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
Justin Miller, co-creator of the developing app Objective Zero, is one such veteran.
Miller was medically retired after being deployed to Iraq twice. While serving in combat, Miller suffered a TBI and developed PTSD. These issues led to severe nightmares and other issues.
Like too many veterans, Miller considered committing suicide.
“I called the VA after a particularly bad nightmare and told them I needed to see someone now,” Miller said. “They scheduled me an appointment for two days later. Here I am, on the verge of killing myself, and I need to wait two days to see someone.”
Instead, Miller reached out to his friend Chris Mercado, also a veteran, who talked to Miller for six hours about what he was going through. According to Miller, this phone call saved his life.
After this phone call, Miller and Mercado joined forces to create Objective Zero and help other veterans find the support they need.
The app’s purpose is to prevent suicide and provide veterans with immediate, and hopefully life-saving, support.
When a veteran in need uses the app, he or she will be connected with another veteran immediately. The veterans who help the people in distress have undergone training in suicide prevention and de-escalation so they are equipped to properly assist the veterans in need.
The veterans will speak anonymously and can talk via text, phone or video.
Objective Zero is more than just a hotline. It will also provide suicide prevention resources, a community-building chatroom , and coping exercises such as meditation and mindfulness.
Miller and Mercado want this app to completely eradicate veteran suicide.
Check your App Store in September 2017 for Objective Zero.
In the meantime, if you need help, please use the Crisis Text Line by texting 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.