New Veteran-Only Social Media App Offers Connection, Support

Posted in Uncategorized on January 8, 2019

A veteran’s life experience is unique, and in many ways, something only another veteran can understand. From combat memories and training to duty-related injuries or sickness, to reintegrate into civilian life, it can help tremendously to have a network of fellow veterans to turn to.New Veteran-Only Social Media App Offers Connection, Support

Learn more about how the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) is working to offer secure, verified veteran-only social media, with its new VA DoD Link app.

VA Offers Veteran-Only Social Media App

Today’s social media networks can be an easy and fun way to reconnect and stay connected with friends that can relate to your perspective as a veteran. With a few clicks, you can discuss topics pertinent to veterans, find upcoming events and search thousands of veteran profiles, using the VA DoD Link mobile application (app).

Servicemembers and veterans receiving VA health care can communicate with other veterans who have common interests and life circumstances. App users can create a profile indicating the personal information they want to share, find information about health-related issues and search for other veterans based on information they have shared.

To use the app, you must have ID.me, DS Logon Level 2 (Premium), or My HealtheVet Premium Account credentials (if you are a veteran and do not have one of these or are not sure, you can visit: mobile.va.gov/login-information for more information). This credential requirement ensures that the network remains military-only and that each user’s identity is verified.

While your profile is connected to your personal electronic health care record, you can choose how much information to include in your VA DoD Link profile – such as health interests, hobbies, service branch etc. – as well as what part of your profile is viewable to others. However, the more information you include in your profile, the easier it is for others to search for you and for you to connect with other users with similar backgrounds.

The idea for a military-only social media tool arose from VA physician, Dr. John Hixson, a neurologist at the San Francisco VA Medical Center while working with a group of 100 veterans diagnosed with epilepsy. During the study, a tool was provided to the patients that allowed them to communicate with each other regularly and the results proved that those using the tool were better able to manage more of their symptoms on their own and practice better self-care. It became apparent that this virtual network of peers played an important role in this, prompting the VA to consider how this same concept could be rolled out to the greater VA community at large.

The VA DoD Link social media network promises to be especially helpful to veterans with disabilities and those living in rural areas or those who may have difficulty leaving their homes. Many veterans utilize the VA or other veteran organizations as a way to connect socially with their peers, but when you are homebound or far from other large populations of veterans, you can feel very isolated. This virtual community can provide a much-needed outlet for veterans as well as a source of encouragement and support.

The VA DoD Link app can be downloaded through the VA Mobile Health website, where you can also view training materials with screenshots and an extensive FAQ section.

Written by Megan Hammons

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