Returning home after combat can be a surreal experience. Many U.S. (and other) military members suffer great amounts of depression, anxiety, and stress once a tour of duty has been completed. These mental health issues are so prevalent that many members of the military commit suicide after returning home. The U.S. Government does have a number of mental health measures in place to help those who have retuned home. But, most of these measures require travel time, time spent with a psychologist, and talking about difficult issues – all things that are hard for a depressed individual to do.
In order to try and combat the high rate of suicide, the U.S. Government has created an app that’s meant to help members of the military. This app, called the “Hope Box”, includes games, distractions, and emergency numbers. The purpose behind the new app is to provide members of the military with a fast and simple solution to depression. Will the app work? Will the number of suicides decrease after this app has been used actively? It all depends on how well the app works, it seems.
Inside the Hope Box App
It may seem silly to rely on an app to lift someone’s spirits. But, think about how happy you (or someone you may know) feels playing a game like Angry Birds. Or, how about the feeling of satisfaction you get from creating a well-received Facebook post. Technology does have a way of lifting spirits when done properly. The U.S. Government needed to create an app that could act as a lifeline. Instead of telling shell-shocked vets to wait to speak with a psychoanalyst, the Hope Box app is ready and waiting at all times.
The Hope Box app includes a “distraction” segment that helps deter negative thoughts through basic distraction tactics. The app also includes coping cards, connections to suicide hotlines, emergency number quick keys, relaxation exercises, and various other helpful components. Right now, the U.S. Military is still testing the app and working on developing the app further, but press has been informed that the app will be available at the end of next summer.
Could this App Be Useful Elsewhere?
There’s very little doubt that the new Hope Box app will be of great use to those military personnel in need. Even though the app won’t replace a psychologist, having a quickly accessible app to use when depressed may mean less military-related suicides. Only, one has to wonder whether or not an app such as this one could be helpful in other instances too.
There are thousands of depressed individuals within the U.S. (and abroad) that could use a quick-help app like this one. While the Hope Box app is being developed for the military, an app like the Hope Box app could certainly be useful in other instances as well (something for indie developers to consider?). Regardless, if you (or someone you know) have just gotten out of the military, you can find out more about the Hope Box app by checking out the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs website.