In honor of Veterans Day next week, we thought we would bring the spotlight to a new app that assists United States veterans in helping each other overcome the challenges of adjusting to civilian life. It can be very difficult to ask for help in adjusting to a new life, but this new app called Together Strong hopes to ease that difficulty by creating a unique interactive experience with virtual humans through peer-to-peer focus. Users can practice conversation skills which they can later use to motivate a friend to take advantage of counseling, health care services, or any other support that they may need. Specific practice scenarios include challenges relating to work, family, finance, and Post Traumatic Stress.
The service is available online at JoinTogetherStrong.com, or you can download the app in the iTunes AppStore and the Googleplay store. Beginning on Veterans Day (November 11th)and through the end of the year, the developer of the app, Kognito, will be making it free to download nationwide with the goal of getting hundreds of thousands veterans to access the service either online or on their mobile phones. They are also working on a version in Spanish as well.
Together Strong was originally developed as a dual effort between Kognito and Veterans Affairs of NY/NJ Healthcare Network as a way to help veterans and service members of the NY/NJ area. CEO and co-founder of Kognito, Ron Goldman, explained the importance of Together Strong:
Broaching these struggles are challenging. But a single conversation can be a powerful tool in making a critical difference in someone’s life. Together Strong offers a safe place where a veteran can practice in privacy, at his or her own pace. This allows the user to develop confidence until he or she is ready to have the real conversation in in real life.”
Because Kognito wants the virtual conversations to be as realistic as possible, each character in the game is coded to have their own unique memories and personalities. Characters also vary in their experiences in dealing with life once they are out of the military. The main character is Nate, a veteran who was able to work through his own struggles with returning to civilian life after a year. Taking on the role of Nate, players then continue through the game to meet and connect with more service members who are experiencing a variation of different problems. As Nate, the player decides how to handle each situation, all the while receiving feedback from virtual peers.
To know more about Together Strong, you can watch a short trailer about the game on their website.