July 08, 2013
By Charles Zuckerman
Upon returning home from the combat zone, many veterans feel nobody understands the challenges they face on a day-to-day basis. In fact, a recent Pew Research Center study found that 84 percent of veterans feel as though the rest of the country has little to no understanding of the problems they encounter. These feelings can make it difficult to transition to civilian life, especially for troops managing post-traumatic stress disorder and other combat-related conditions. A new smartphone app, known as POS REP, was designed to help veterans navigate the challenges facing the military by locating fellow service members living nearby, Stars and Stripes reports.
Jacob Wood, a former Marine who saw the impact PTSD can have on troops, came up with the idea. Wood and one of his friends served together in Iraq and Afghanistan, but upon returning home they grew apart. His friend had nobody to turn to and eventually took his own life. Wood later learned he lived close to several other service members he could have reached out to had he only known they were there. Now, POS REP - which stands for position report - allows users to easily reach out to their fellow veterans.
"This tool is really going to be a game-changer," Anthony Allman, an Army veteran who helped Wood, told the publication "I hope [the app] has an impact [on the issue of suicides], at least by showing veterans they're not alone. There is a community around them."
Other apps abound
Although POS REP may be one of the newest programs, there are a wide variety of other apps available that are designed to help service members fight PTSD, according to USA Today. Some of the apps have been developed by the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. These programs include T2 MoodTracker, PTSD Coach and Breathe2Relax, which provide users with the latest information treating PTSD as well as a useful tool to track their symptoms.
Such programs could have a significant impact on the well-being of servicemembers. According to some estimates, around 20 percent of veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan show signs of PTSD. As many of them transition into civilian life in the coming years, having useful devices in their pocket could make a substantial difference.