Army's Top Enlisted Soldier Reviews T2's Behavioral Health Apps

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The U.S. Army’s top enlisted leader, Sergeant Major of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler III, visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord on July 25. During his three-day visit, he met with soldiers to share messages from the Army’s top leaders and to listen to their concerns, which he conveyed back to the Pentagon.

During Chandler’s time at the base, he also visited T2, where staff psychologists described T2’s websites and mobile apps that address psychological health issues for service members and their families, including posttraumatic stress. Chandler said he’d had some long-term behavioral-health care and wished that he had known about apps like T2’s when he had been in counseling.

“I’m going to download some of these apps for the plane ride back to DC tonight,” he said.

In 2004, Chandler experienced a brush with his own mortality when he was deployed in Baghdad, which led to him developing PTSD as a result of that experience. At first, he was too ashamed to admit that he struggled with the issue, but after several years he sought help. When interviewing for his current position by General Casey (the chief of staff at the time), Chandler admitted that he had been getting behavioral health care counseling. Casey thought it was a strength, and said that if Chandler was selected, he would ask him to talk about it to soldiers and their families.

While at T2, Chandler talked about the issue of getting soldiers help.

“The bigger challenge—and I’m not sure that we can solve it—is that in effect, there’s a war on behavioral health, said Chandler. “We’ve got to change the narrative from ‘you’re broke’ to: ‘you’re injured and we’re going to help you heal because we need you back on the team’. We need to do a better job with empathy in the Army. What can help us put ourselves in someone else’s place? These are soldiers who have sacrificed a lot. We always forget that. We should be willing to do whatever it takes to help them.”

Chandler also learned about programs that T2 developed for families of service members. After Kelly Blasko, Ph.D., explained an app for military children that she worked on, Chandler commented that when his kids were young, “there was a struggle for the schools to understand what military children are all about. We didn’t have a tool like this, so this is great.”

Chandler also toured T2’s technology enhancement center, where service members from the base do usability testing on apps under development and offered to help get the word out about T2’s products.

“We obviously can help,” said Chandler. “We can target specific population groups, make communication pieces. I heard some similarities today to what we’re doing with our resiliency training—it’s always important to see how we can cross-populate research--so this may be something we can incorporate into that. We have to figure out how to leverage this knowledge as a way to help our soldiers.”

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Originally Published: 
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Source Author: 
Cathy McDonald
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