9/18/2012 – WASHINGTON — The Department of Defense announced its new DOD Safe Helpline Mobile Application. With this new app, service members transitioning to civilian life will have access to critical resources that assist in managing the short- and long-term effects of sexual assault.
This new app is the latest in a string of technological innovations designed to support sexual assault victims in the military, officials said.
The app contains the option for users to record their current emotional state and create tailored self-care plans to address sadness, hopelessness and disconnection. These self-care plans include suggested resources and exercises, and can be stored for future reference. This includes a list of breathing, stretching and visualization techniques that can reduce anxiety, depression and symptoms of post-traumatic stress.
“Victims want to choose when and where they get support, so we are using technology to provide them as many options as possible,” said Maj. Gen. Gary S. Patton, DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office director. “This new app, tied into the Safe Helpline, is another tool to provide support to military victims of sexual assault.”
Users can connect with live sexual assault response professionals via phone or anonymous online chat from their mobile devices for support. Users can also navigate resources — disability assistance, medical benefits, housing help and employment assistance — or search for resources near their base or installation. The Safe Helpline mobile app is for short-term self-care and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice or a mental health treatment plan.
The DOD Safe Helpline Mobile App is free and available for download from the Apple and Android app stores. DOD administers Safe Helpline via a contract with the non-profit Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization.
Additional information regarding the Department’s Sexual Assault and Response Office can be found at http://www.sapr.mil.
(Courtesy of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense Public Affairs)