Along with their new mini-series The Long Road Home, National Geographic has released an app called Bravo Tango Brain Training, designed to help veterans manage and improve their mental health. The mini-series is based on Martha Raddatz’s New York Times best-selling book that chronicles the lives of service members and their families through deployment and post-deployment.
While producing the show, National Geographic realized there was a bigger impact they could have on the home life of veterans. They decided to team up with 360i, a branding agency, and Dr. Michael Valdovinos, a former Air Force psychologist and combat veteran, to create an app designed to give veterans easy access to one of the most effective tools for treating stress and promoting healthy coping practices—meditation.
Speaking on the app and its potential, Dr. Valdovinos said, “Many veterans are hesitant to try meditation and mindfulness because of societal stereotypes it carries in our community. In my practice, however, I’ve found meditation, mindfulness and voice therapy to be highly effective in reducing stress, refining focus and raising optimism.”
“Bravo Tango Brain Training is a bridge to seeking help and brings a unique approach directly to the veteran community where we feel safest: our homes,” Dr. Valdovinos added.
Numerous studies have been made supporting the approach to mental health made by Bravo Tango. Studies published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, Military Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Psychology determined that breathing-based meditation intervention results in reduced stress, anxiety, feelings of depression, and slowed respiration rates. In one case, 90% of veteran participants completed the study, suggesting high acceptability of meditation practices.
Available on any device equipped with Google Assistant, users will just need to say, “Ok Google, talk to Bravo Tango,” to open the app and begin.
The program will recognize over 40 moods and provide a guide to help the user select the best exercise for how they are feeling. Whether stress, anxiety, insomnia, loneliness, anger, fear, or some combination, Bravo Tango is set up to deal with a complex set of emotions using practices ranging from simple breathing and focus to muscle relaxation.
National Geographic, through the release of Bravo Tango and the premiere of the mini-series, wants to provide a space for discourse and recognition of important veterans’ issues.
With their platform, they have the ability as change the outlook on mental heath, enhance the support available for those struggling through their return home, and increase awareness of mental health across a widespread demographic.