Ahead of Veteran’s Day this year, we worked with National Geographic to release Bravo Tango Brain Training, the first-ever voice app that democratizes veteran access to mental health care. Deploying meditation-based treatment methods commonly used by military professionals, the app is meant to enhance mental health support for America’s veteran community. The Bravo Tango Brain Training app is now available across all Google Assistant powered devices.
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. “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.
To load the program, users of Android phones and Google Home devices can launch the app by saying “Ok Google, talk to Bravo Tango”. iPhone owners can do the same after downloading the Google Assistant app. The program recognizes over 40 moods, including anger, loneliness, anxiety, disappointment, regret, sadness, fatigue, fear and insomnia and pairs users to an appropriate exercise based on how they’re feeling. Exercises range from breathing, and focus, to grounding and visualization, even interpersonal connection and muscle relaxation.
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 producing their scripted series, The Long Road Home, based on Martha Raddatz’s 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, we 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.
“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.”
Members from across 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.”