Military veteran’s Swiss 8 app made available to all Australians to support mental health
An app designed to support military veterans to transition back to civilian life, and to manage isolation, loss of purpose and other issues, has been released on a broader scale in an attempt to combat some of the mental health challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
With information showing that Australia’s early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector employees are experiencing some of the most challenging times with mental health as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the announcement by Swiss 8 founder Adrian Sutter that the popular mental health app will be made available to all Australians comes as welcome news.
Swiss 8 is well known to those in the Australian Defence Force community, with more than 3,000 Australian military veterans currently using the app to improve their mental health.
Mr Sutter’s charity created the app to prevent mental health decline in veterans experiencing isolation, unstructured lifestyle, loss of identity and loss of purpose – something many veterans are challenged by when they leave the military. With the presence of COVID-19 continuing to disrupt regular routines around Australia, these issues are becoming more prevalent in the non Veteran community.
“We launched Swiss 8 as a charity in 2019,” Mr Sutter explained.
“The objective was to reduce the numbers of veterans taking their own lives as a result of anxiety and depression. Then COVID-19 hit and we knew suicide and mental ill-health was going to be a crisis faced by all Australians. We had to offer this tool to everyone, we just didn’t know how we would afford it.”
It was at this point that Australian mining company, BHP, saw an opportunity to support, as part of its Vital Resources Fund, and offered to provide the financial support required to get the app ready for a national launch.
Swiss 8 Chief People and Culture Officer Anthony Meixner said the charity now has “an even stronger purpose – using veteran lived experience to provide interventions for all Australians and giving our veteran-led team the opportunity to serve the community again”.
“We have improved the app features, allowing users to create teams, stay connected while working remotely and keep teammates accountable as they workout, follow nutrition plans, meditate, and become better at life,” Mr Meixner said.
The Swiss 8 app is available in the Appstore and Google play store. To access more information about safeguarding mental health in an ECEC context, please see here.