4MCA.com  /  Operation Reach Out: Suicide Prevention App

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  1. Group unveils app to aid suicidal veterans

    Group unveils app to aid suicidal veterans

    The Associated Press, Published: Monday Feb 27, 2012

    WOODBURY, N.Y. — A New York company has developed a free smartphone app aimed at helping veterans struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide.

    Woodbury-based MilitaryFamily.com says the “Operation Reach Out” app is designed for service members who may be depressed, suffering from PTSD or having suicidal thoughts.

    It was developed in collaboration with psychologist. It is free for both the iPhone and Android.

    It provides a telephone number for instant connection to a help center. It also includes video vignettes aimed at helping depressed and suicidal people.

    The military has seen increases in suicide rates since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Department of Defense statistics indicate that 18 veterans commit suicide every day. One out of every five suicide victims is a veteran.

  2. Marine’s battle moves from Iraq to PTSD, red tape

    Marine’s battle moves from Iraq to PTSD, red tape

    Published: March 2nd, 2012

    News 12 Video

    CORAM- Marine Sgt. Steven Raimondi experienced five straight days of firefights and bloodshed during the opening days of Operation Iraqi Freedom back in 2003. Nine years after those dark days and four years after leaving active service, Raimondi’s battle has now moved beyond the battlefield.

    Raimondi suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The veteran applied for “service-connected” PTSD benefits 13 months ago, but his application still hasn’t been approved by Veterans Affairs. He has been forced to pay out-of-pocket for medication and treatments.

    “He fought for his country, did a good job, and now he just wants … he needs help,” says Raimondi’s father Joseph, a Navy veteran from the Vietnam era.

    Organizers at MilitaryFamily.com say Raimondi isn’t alone.

    “I believe the government is trying to do the best that they can, but I believe they’re being overwhelmed by the numbers coming back home,” says Jon Werz.

    For extended video of Marine Sgt. Steven Raimondi, go to channel 612 on your iO digital cable box and select the ‘iO Extra’ tab.

  3. MilitaryFamily.com Develops Smartphone App To Help Prevent Suicides By Military, Veterans

    MilitaryFamily.com Develops Smartphone App To Help Prevent Suicides By Military, Veterans

    Published: February 28th, 201Woodbury, NY–MilitaryFamily.com, a website that provides community, guidance and support to military members and their families has developed a free, smartphone app with a very serious yet straightforward mission: to help members of the military overcome feelings of depression and/or PTSD and ultimately to prevent them from taking their own lives.

    This free app could potentially have a very real impact on the disturbing numbers of active duty members of the military as well as veterans who have taken their own lives as a result of having served in recent conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond.

    Recent reports from the military itself as well as nonprofits and government think-tanks have only served to underscore the tragic numbers of American service members who take their lives each year. A recent report by the Center for a New American Security said that, “Although only 1 percent of Americans have served in the military, former servicemembers represent 20 percent of suicides in the United States.”  Armytimes.com has reported that on average, a U.S. servicemember commits suicide every 80 minutes.

    This free suicide preventon app dubbed “Operation Reach Out” is for servicemembers who may be depressed, suffering from PTSD or having suicidal thoughts as well as concerned family and friends. Developed via a collaboration of psychologist and internationally recognized expert in emotional resiliency, Lawrence Shapiro, Ph.D. and MilitaryFamily.com, the app is currently offered free for both the iPhone and Android and has five key features including:

    • A Help Center where a single touch of the phone will call a friend, family member, or helping professional (including the National Suicide Hotline)
    • Video vignettes designed to help people who are depressed see that their problems are solvable and their feelings of desperation will pass
    • Video vignettes for people concerned about someone who they believe is suicidal; telling them what they should and should not say
    • Suggestions of activities that will help people reach out to someone else rather than suffer alone
    • Internet resources including real stories from people who once thought about suicide, but went on to get help

    In short, the app brings together many elements of a traditional suicide prevention hotline only it’s connected to a call center where mental health pros have specific knowledge of issues such as PTSD and other combat-related problems that members of our military may encounter while deployed overseas and elsewhere.

  4. NY group unveils app to aid suicidal veterans

    NY group unveils app to aid suicidal veterans

    Associated Press, Published: February 27, 2012

    WOODBURY, N.Y. — A New York company has developed a free smartphone app aimed at helping veterans struggling with depression and thoughts of suicide.

    Woodbury-based MilitaryFamily.com says the “Operation Reach Out” app is designed for service members who may be depressed, suffering from PTSD or having suicidal thoughts.

    It was developed in collaboration with psychologist. It is free for both the iPhone and Android.

    It provides a telephone number for instant connection to a help center. It also includes video vignettes aimed at helping depressed and suicidal people.

    The military has seen increases in suicide rates since the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Department of Defense statistics indicate that 18 veterans commit suicide every day. One out of every five suicide victims is a veteran.

    —Copyright 2012 Associated Press

  5. LI company combats PTSD in veterans with app

    LI company combats PTSD in veterans with app

    by John Callegari, Published: February 22, 2012

    Vets returning from war are having an increasingly tough time readjusting to society, with many suffering from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Those symptoms, which include depression and despondence, have tragically resulted in many veterans committing suicide, leaving behind grief-stricken families.

    Former soldiers represent 20 percent of suicides in the United States.

    One Woodbury company is hoping to lower that statistic. MilitaryFamily.com, in conjunction with psychologist Lawrence Shapiro, has created a free smartphone app called Operation Reach Out. The app provides veterans and their families with tools to both identify PTSD and provide emotional support.

    Shapiro said the app, which launched in early December, has had a few hundred downloads in its three-month lifespan.

    Shapiro admitted it was unlikely veterans themselves suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or contemplating suicide would download the app freely, but said the benefits are there for them if prompted by a counselor or family member.

    “We don’t know if [a veteran] will download the app;” Shapiro said. “That seems a little far-fetched. But that’s why the app takes you down one of two routes – one for veterans and one for those concerned about a veteran.”

    The app includes a one-touch button that will immediately call a friend, family member, army chaplain or emotional counselor; video vignettes that offer encouragement to both veterans and their family members; and suggestions for activities that will help people reach out to someone else rather than suffer alone.

    “With suicide prevention, the only way it works is if someone else is there with you,” Shapiro said. “That’s what we aimed for with this app: putting the veteran in touch with someone or at least making it seem like our videos were talking directly to them.”

  6. Woodbury Company Creates App For Troubled Vets

    Woodbury Company Creates App For Troubled Vets

    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.

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