Inspired by Nat Geo’s Scripted Drama “The Long Road Home,” the New App – called Bravo Tango Brain Training – Will be Available on Smart Phones and Google Home Devices Beginning November 9 to Commemorate Veterans Day.
National Geographic and 360i Launch First-Ever Voice Powered Meditation App, Designed Specifically for Veterans [PRESS RELEASE]
(WASHINGTON, D.C.–November 9, 2017) Ahead of Veteran’s Day, National Geographic, in a partnership with 360i, has released Bravo Tango Brain Training, the first-ever voice activated meditation app designed specifically for veterans, with the aim of providing another tool in the effort to enhance mental health support for America’s veteran community. The meditation app will be available for free on smartphones via the Google Assistant app and Google Home Devices beginning November 9th. To begin, say “Ok Google, talk to Bravo Tango.”
Bravo Tango Brain Training was developed in partnership with former Air Force Psychologist and combat veteran Dr. Michael Valdovinos who specializes in military and veteran psychological health and has vast experience working with transitioning and reintegrating service members. Working together, National Geographic, their agency partner 360i, Dr. Valdovinos and app developer Xapp created a voice-powered app that will give veterans easy access to one of the most effective methods for reducing stress and maintaining healthy coping practices- meditation and mindfulness.
“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,” says Dr. Valdovinos.
The approach used in the app is supported by numerous studies, including those published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, Military Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Psychology that have found breathing-based meditation intervention to result 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.
In producing their scripted series, The Long Road Home, 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, National Geographic gained deep insights into the home life of veterans, ultimately realizing there was an opportunity to expand the impact of their stories. Inspired by the real-life veterans portrayed in the series, National Geographic along with 360i wanted to go a step further and do something to not only enhance mental health support for veterans and reduce barriers to seeking treatment but also bring renewed attention to important veterans’ issues. As part of launching the series, the network has also partnered with numerous veteran’s organizations including the Bob Woodruff Foundation, Team Rubicon, Blue Star Families, The Mission Continues,Veterans of Foreign Wars, Global War on Terror Memorial Foundation, and the USO.
“We were so inspired by the real-life stories which The Long Road Home series was based on, and we wanted to expand our support with something tangible, useful and needed for the veteran community,” says Courteney Monroe, CEO, National Geographic Global Networks. “As we began to explore the veteran support space with 360i, it became apparent that many of the current wellness app options for veterans do not address their specific needs. Technological advances often leave veterans behind, and we hope we can do some good by providing this simple, but powerful technology.”
“It was an incredible privilege to be a part of The Long Road Home project. In seeing it come to life, I again gained new insight into the daily struggles veterans so often face,” says Martha Raddatz, “It means a lot to me that National Geographic is taking their support of this community one step further and providing easier access to the help they seek.”
Many from the veteran community have endorsed Bravo Tango Brain Training, including former Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter who says, “For many veterans, returning home is the toughest battle they face. Supporting their mental health requires an all-hands effort. I commend Bravo Tango for leveraging innovative technology to make practical and comforting wellness steps more accessible to our men and women in uniform.”
See Bravo Tango Brain Training in Action
Bravo Tango Brain Training is free and now available on all smart phones and voice-powered devices with Google Assistant. To use, open the Google Assistant app, and say “Ok Google, talk to Bravo Tango.” The program will then guide the user to an appropriate exercise based on how they’re feeling. Bravo Tango recognizes over 40 moods, including anger, loneliness, anxiety, disappointment, regret, sadness, fatigue, fear and insomnia. Exercises range from breathing, and focus, to grounding and visualization, even interpersonal connection and muscle relaxation. While Bravo Tango Brain Training is an effective and accessible method for reducing stress and anxiety, it should not be used as a replacement for ongoing professional care.