MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On average, 20 veterans commit suicide each day.
Those numbers were the driving force for a group of veterans to put help in the palm of fellow veteran’s hand. “Objective Zero” is launching an app that will give veterans in crisis 24-hour access to help.
The app is free to veterans and service members. The hope is to reduce the number of veteran suicides to zero. The group of veterans who make up objective zero believe suicide can be prevented through the simple act of listening.
Jake Cottew has served two tours, one in Iraq, the other in Kuwait. The 36-year-old Army veteran knows what it’s like to lose a fellow soldier in combat as well as to lose one to suicide.
“I’ve had two service members that I served with who have committed suicide recently,” said Cottew.
The loss of his friends made Jake want to help other military veterans. He stumbled across a website called Objective Zero. It was promoting an app that will give veterans help right in the palm of their hands.
“Sometimes you just need to get on the phone with somebody who has been there,” said Blake Bassett.
Bassett, an army intelligence officer, developed the app. He says the caller who is in crisis will be able to choose the ambassador they speak to by a number of attributes.
“Such as if a marine wants to talk to fellow marine or a solider to a soldier, they can select that criteria and they simply tap the buttons video call or text and that call is routed to an ambassador that fits that criteria,” Bassett said.
The veteran caller will also be able to access close to 40,000 non-profits, resources just for veterans and service members. The people who answer the phone or ambassadors can be veterans, trained medical personnel or just concerned citizens who are willing to go through training, by the VA to help.
“To connect these veterans in crisis to somebody in the community, somebody that cares, somebody that will be there to help them out, that’s not there just for a pay check. They are there because they want to be there,” Cottew said.
Objective Zero has raised $40,000 and needs another $20,000 to get the app up and running, and the Minnesota Wild are going to help.
We have a link where you can buy discounted tickets to Tuesday night’s game, and a part of the proceeds will go to Objective Zero.