Transitioning from active duty service to civilian life can be a challenge for a number of different reasons. Problems finding a job, family stress or difficulty adjusting to a new lifestyle can often play a significant role. Additionally, managing the effects of physical and emotional wounds can make it especially hard. Veterans may sometimes feel like nobody can relate to their struggles, but a new smartphone app may change that. Known as POS REP – short for position report – the app lets veterans locate servicemembers in their area that can help them out, according to Stars and Stripes.
The app was developed by Jacob Wood, who got the idea after his friend and fellow Marine veteran took his own life after returning home from the combat zone. The two had been close while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, but when they returned home they lost touch. After his friend's death, Wood learned that Marines lived nearby but he was not aware of it, so he could have had someone to reach out to. Now, vets in trouble can send an alert to fellow troops in the area when they need someone to talk to. The app's creators believe it has considerable potential at changing how post-traumatic stress disorder is treated.
"This tool is really going to be a game-changer," Army veteran Anthony Allman, who helped get POS REP off the ground, 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."
Apps could be a game changer
POS REP is just one of a growing number of smartphone and tablet apps that could significant help veterans transition to civilian life. Recently, the Department of Veterans Affairs launched an app of its own – PTSD Coach – that helps troops track their symptoms, locate sources of support and offers suggestions for how to mitigate the symptoms. Such services are especially important now as an estimated one in five veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan show signs of PTSD.
There are also apps not aimed at helping treat mental wounds of war. Apps such as College Guide can help veterans put their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to good use by locating the schools that are best suited for them.