What a week! It’s hard to believe it has only been a week as so much has happened but, yep, it’s only 7 days since we launched the All Call Signs chat app. The feedback so far has been extremely positive, and we’re starting to understand where ACS can fit into the wider effort to raise awareness and provide support to military personnel suffering from mental health issues such as anxiety, PTSD and depression. Our aim is to be completely transparent about how the service is working and not working and this is the first of what I hope will be weekly posts, updating the community on what we’re achieving together. Each update will focus on the three areas that we are trying to impact.
We recently released details on our Beacon application that will make it easier for relevant agencies to organise volunteers on search and rescue operations when vulnerable members of our community go missing. We’ve had a wonderful response to this and are already talking to agencies about how we can use technology to assist this type of effort. This is a lot of work and requires input from a wide variety of people but rest assured, we will continue to develop this application at pace.
In just seven days we’ve spoken to multiple regional and national publications, introducing them to All Call Signs and our core aims. Our expected reach for these messages is 20,000 – 30,000 people in the next 7 days. With just social media, we’ve managed to reach 15,000 people this week, and have driven 1,000 unique visitors to allcallsigns.org. We’ve had several positive conversations with national charities and leading bodies in mental health at how we can best work together moving forward, but also highlighting how the needs of the military community differ from those of civilians, this will go along way to ensuring everyone working in this space is providing informed and relevant care to vulnerable military personnel and veterans.
Our core aims come down to one hopeful result: less service personnel and veterans feeling isolated, to the point where they make a regrettable decision. We’re exceeding even our own expectations in this respect. Currently through our SOS page and Chat App we’re diverting around 10 users a day towards either a friendly voice or an organisation that can help them think a little clearer. We’ve signed up over 50 listeners with military experience and they’re taking it seriously: the Listener’s Guide is the most returned to page currently on the site. It’s early days of course, but these are all positive signs that a) the service is necessary and b) it is beginning to work how we need it to.
Our short term aims are to get more training resources on how to be a good listener out to our users. We’ll continue to take all steps we can to grow our reach and ensure that no military personnel or veteran is ever left feeling isolated. We’ll keep shouting about the importance of reform in the ‘mental health for services personnel’ space.
Long term, we’re looking at how we can best make our Beacon Platform available to all the relevant agencies and evolving our chat software to make it better.
We’re fully aware that the only reason this first week has been so successful is because it’s been adopted en masse by the military community. Please keep sharing and showing enthusiasm for this project. In return, we’ll keep shining a light on mental health in the forces and doing our best to prevent the worst case scenarios of PTSD and depression that we’ve seen all too often in the news.