Keychain device could be key to reducing rate of suicide, violence among struggling veterans
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., [PRNewswire] — RescueTouch and PushUp Vets have partnered to ensure not even one more struggling U.S. military veteran has to get to the point of suicide or violence. Their solution: The first veteran’s crisis callers on the market, BuddyCheck and PushUp, designed to instantly connect those who have served our country with the loved ones and services that can best help them in their time of need. The keychain device can be a simple, yet crucial addition that can easily be purchased by veterans, their moms, wives, daughters, and other family members.
RescueTouch, co-founded by volunteer EMT, former Air National Guardsman and current Coast Guard Auxiliarist Scott Lepper and Marines veteran Thomas Franks, and PushUp Vets, founded by Navy veteran George Schmall, partnered when Lepper heard Schmall’s personal story of emotional trauma following his service in Vietnam. Through RescueTouch CareCallers and a nationwide help alert system that connects to trusted family members, friends, or advocacy organizations rather than relying on impersonal and expensive call centers, Lepper was already helping seniors safely and affordably continue to live in their own homes. But when he connected with Schmall and heard the PushUp Vets founder’s passion and vision for preventing veteran suicide, Lepper knew RescueTouch needed to be part of the mission as well.
Lepper and his team of seasoned first responders and veterans went to work on adapting the RescueTouch CareCallers and help alert system to meet the needs of veterans experiencing mental health crises or at risk of death by suicide. The resulting products, the low-profile, keychain-sized BuddyCheck and PushUp, are the only veteran’s crisis callers available today.
With the push of a button, BuddyCheck immediately connects a veteran with up to five battle buddies, family members, friends or trusted healthcare providers anywhere in the U.S. via a reliable built-in two-way speakerphone and the world’s largest cellular network, while simultaneously texting them the veteran’s precise GPS location. PushUp uses the same network and technology to immediately call the Veterans Crisis Line, which offers help in the moment and connects veterans in crisis with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders.
“George Schmall really inspired us to use our existing RescueTouch technology to help our nation’s veterans, and when we sat down and took a good hard look at what’s actually happening to veterans and their families, we were determined to be part of the solution,” Lepper said. “Since 2001, the age-adjusted rate of suicide among U.S. veterans has increased by 32.2%, and among female veterans during that same time, the age-adjusted rate of suicide has increased by 85.2%. We extrapolated the data and determined that without help, 7,400 vets will die by suicide in 2017 if they do not receive help. We can’t sit idly by when BuddyCheck and PushUp have the power to save those lives.”
The bottom line: Help is available to veterans who find themselves in the fight of their lives after coming home — and, with BuddyCheck and PushUp, it’s as close as their fingertips.
Because RescueTouch and PushUp Vets agree veterans are not likely to obtain crisis callers on their own, the companies are actively seeking partners–agencies serving veterans, veteran outreach programs, and other organizations involved with veterans and their families–to get BuddyCheck and PushUp into the hands of more veterans. Organizations and companies interested in aligning with that mission can get involved by calling 800-209-3815 or emailing VetOutreach@RescueTouch.com. The BuddyCheck and PushUp Vet Callers are available at RescueTouch.com.