OSHKOSH, Wis.(WFRV)- In August of last year, UW Police Captain Christopher Tarmann spoke with Local 5’s Eric Richards about an app that he has created to help Law Enforcement officers who are dealing with depression and other mental health issues. Five months after the launch, it is thriving, with more features available.
UW-Oshkosh Police Captain develops app for law enforcement mental health.
“It’s really good because there are just over 1,500 people who have downloaded the app in Law Enforcement and I think that is probably where we estimated we would be at this time,” said Captain Tarmann. Mental health has been an important subject of discussion on the campus of UW Oshkosh after a current student Veteran and a former student Veteran committed suicide in recent months. “In the Wile Guardian app, we have resources for Veterans as well, who are in need of help,” said Tarmann.
Suicides are up among Veterans. According to the Veterans Affairs National Suicide Data Report, from 2008-2016, more than 6,000 Veterans committed suicide. In 2016, the suicide rate was 1.5 times higher among Veterans, than non-Veteran adults. The United We Stand is focused on changing those statistics for the better. “I definitely feel that it’s the type of thing that can break the stigma associated with seeking help with mental health issues,” said Steve Freund, student Veteran who works at VRC.
In the law enforcement field and military, it might be harder for individuals to make that step to get help because of preconceived notions, that if you ask for help–you are considered weak. “This app is really easy to use, and once you download it, there are resources on the home page,” said Tarmann.
“United We Stand” mental health campaign at UW Oshkosh for students and alumni.
“When a person signs up for a position in Law Enforcement they’re making a lifestyle change. It’s not a job, it’s not a career – it’s a new lifestyle. Police officers, correctional officers, probation and parole agents, deputies, and so many others who work in this field own everything they experience and they think they can’t show weakness or people will question whether they can handle the stress of the job,” said Tarmann.
Wile Guardian is available now in the Apple App Store and Google Play for free. If you are not a law enforcement officer, you can also download the app for free resources, which include immediate access to services. “There are resources built into the front end of the app before you have to authenticate into a private piece of the app because if you need help right now. we don’t want to hinder that,” said Tarmanm.