Anonymous app offers support to veterans suffering with mental health


Bethesda, Maryland — Bill Mulder was one of many nation’s most adorned Navy SEALs. His spouse, Sydney Mulder, mentioned he was a terrific father and devoted to his SEAL crew. 

“Bill was incredibly proud,” she mentioned. “He loved his job.” 

But after a grueling mission to Afghanistan in 2009, Mulder mentioned her husband modified. He was indignant, he began ingesting excessively and did not need any assist. 

“He felt if he opened up and if he were honest and truthful, he would jeopardize his career,” Mulder mentioned. “‘I’ll get kicked out. I’ll lose my security clearance.’”

Bill Mulder

Sydney Mulder

Six months after he left the Navy, he referred to as his spouse on FaceTime and put a gun to his head. 

“And I said, ‘You’re scaring me. I’m scared.’ And I heard a gunshot and I saw what I saw. And then the phone — it went black. And I threw the phone on the ground,” Mulder mentioned. 

Nearly 20% of service members who’ve returned from Afghanistan and Iraq have post-traumatic stress dysfunction or despair, in accordance to a RAND Corporation study. But solely half who want therapy truly search it. The Department of Veterans Affairs mentioned every day 17 veterans take their very own lives.

At the time of her husband’s suicide, Mulder’s brother, William Negley, a former CIA officer, was creating Sound Off, an app that may let those that serve attain out for assist anonymously. It makes use of encryption to defend the conversations, Negley mentioned. 

John, who requested to stay nameless, is without doubt one of the veterans who downloaded the app, which put him in contact with a therapist. 

“I do think the Sound Off app saved my life,” mentioned John, whose crew cleared roadside bombs in Afghanistan.  “If a soldier or a service member wishes to advance their career and stay in the service to seek mental help I think is a barrier still.” 

Negley mentioned the app has helped 200 veterans and he desires to develop. 

Four years after her husband’s loss of life, Mulder nonetheless wears the watch he had on when he died. His wedding ceremony ring is clipped to it. She mentioned it is a reminder that her household remains to be therapeutic. 

Catherine Herridge

Catherine Herridge is a senior investigative correspondent for CBS News overlaying nationwide safety and intelligence primarily based in Washington, D.C.