Innovations That Matter

Virtual chats help vets prepare for social reintegration

Sport & Fitness

Together Strong is a gamified virtual chat app that aims to help those who are struggling to maintain friendships outside of the military.

Going to war is an experience that most civilians will never even be able to imagine, and many former soldiers struggle to fit back into the humdrum routines of daily life easily once they've retired. We've already seen platforms such as Incline, which serve to specifically help vets find jobs that fit the technical knowledge they gained from military work. Now Together Strong is tackling the social side of reintegration, using a gamified virtual chat app to help those who are struggling to maintain friendships outside of the military.

After spending years outside of civilian life, retiring soldiers can often find that the type of communication and friendships they had in the army are different to those found in everyday relationships. Topics such as personal problems, grief, stress and work matters can feel alien.

Available for free online, on the App Store or Google Play, the app uses conversational roleplay scenarios that players need to navigate successfully in order to progress. Players choose what actions and comments to make during each conversation, and then receive personalized feedback based on their choices. According to the developers, the app uses "extensive research in neuroscience, social cognition, and psychology", as well as input from service members and veterans, to make the virtual conversations highly realistic.

Watch the video below to see the app in action:

Designed for both individual use and for deployment among organizations that provide support to vets, the app aims to improve the empathy, trust, and collaboration skills of those returning to civilian life. As well as improving their own relationships, Together Strong also works to help former soldiers provide support to others who may be struggling after leaving military service. Are there other ways to help vets return to normality after serving their country?



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