Health Vision Month

Wellness App Designed to Boost Veterans’ Health

Studies have shown that military members and veterans experience high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury and depression when returning from active duty. When these psychiatric conditions are left untreated, increased rates of substance abuse and suicide are likely.

To raise awareness surrounding the issues veterans face, Brendan McNichol, a U.S. Army veteran, founded Hoplite Resilience Center – a nonprofit organization that aims to build a community of resources for struggling vets. After leaving the service, McNichol’s understanding of the unique challenges veterans face daily and the inspiration gained while seeking his master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania led him to open the Center.

In an effort to further the Center’s mission “to empower military personnel, veterans, first responders, first care receivers, and their families by improving resilience and overall well-being,” McNichol developed VetTriage — a new wellness app designed to strengthen the health of those who serve, or have served, through resiliency. The app prepares users to get the most from its data collection and reflection process; and enables them to triage their moods, stressors, activities, and their severity of impact through four stages of self-tracking — preparation, collection, reflection, and action. To support the action phase, the app breaks down different types of resources a veteran may need, and then categorizes them by location within a city.

“We are not trying to replace resources. Instead we are working to pull in vetted resources for veterans to use and introducing them in a unique way — through triage.”

Brendan McNichol, U.S. Army Veteran & Founder of Hoplite Resilience Center

According to the Hoplite Resilience Center, of the 2.8 million service members who have been deployed since 2001, twenty percent experienced PTSD, fifteen percent experienced depression, and twenty three percent have had traumatic brain injuries. In addition to the app, the Center has built two educational programs, Psychological Body Armor and Resilience Leadership, to combat these unsettling statistics.

The app is currently available in Philadelphia and San Diego, with talk of broadening its reach across the nation.

Information provided by Philly Voice.