February 22, 2012 10:24 AM By JAMES BERNSTEIN
A Woodbury-based educational publishing company is hoping it can play a role in preventing the rising number of suicides in the U.S. military.
The company, Military Community Awareness, which publishes booklets and pamphlets given out for free to military families on such subjects as preparing for and coping with deployment and re-integrating into noncombat areas, has developed a free app — Operation Reach Out — to help soldiers and their families deal with potential suicides. The app is available for iPhones and the Android market.
Jon Werz, chief executive of Guidance Group, the parent of Military Community Awareness, said the app contains a help center where phone numbers of base chaplains or family members can be listed, a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline, and 10 video vignettes that deal with different aspects of suicidal feelings.
Werz said that since November, the app has been downloaded about 300 times, and his company is going about publicizing it in the military and to veterans groups.
“I could have written up a grant” to get government money to develop the app, Werz said. “But I wanted to get it out as quickly as possible. We’ve been at war for the last nine years now. These kids are coming back home and having such a hard time readjusting. I just want to do my part to help out.”
To see the features of the app, visit militaryfamily.com.