A pair of Birmingham companies have secured nearly £250,000 in new funding to help develop an app aimed at improving the mental wellbeing of military personnel.
Tech developer Daden and Altruist Enterprises, which runs mental health and stress workshops for employers and schools, are working with the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and the Ministry of Defence on the initiative.
New grant funding worth £247,720 has been awarded to help create a mobile chatbot app which will provide round-the-clock access to information and support resources to help both staff and their families.
It will also offer suggestions for short training sessions to help build resilience and wellbeing, improve sleep, manage stress and plan future personal development and career progression.
It is not intended that the app, which will be trialled at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire, does everything itself but rather signpost users to other sources.
The team behind the project will work with military users and managers to identify what support is needed by military personnel and what other information and functionality would encourage them to use it on a regular basis.
The move is aimed at helping staff who have to deal with issues such as lengthy separations from friends and family, frequent moves, deployments and operational duties.
It is hoped the app will help to reduce the friction of day-to-day military life, improve mental and physical health, wellbeing and resilience.
The new capital was secured through an MoD Funding Competition by the two companies which are both based at Innovation Birmingham Campus.
Altruist Enterprises was founded by Katie Buckingham when she was 19 and she recently appeared in BirminghamLive's 30 Under 30 campaign highlighting some of the city's most inspiring young people.
Ms Buckingham said: "There has been a rising trend in the rate of UK Armed Forces personnel assessed with a mental disorder over the past ten years.
"Our team of mental health and training specialists, in partnership with Daden and the IES, aim to provide individuals with the tools to build resilience and maintain positive well-being through the many challenges of military life."
David Burden, managing director of Daden, added: "Having something you can turn to quickly, at any time of the day or night, to get some advice about something that you might not right now want to speak to another human about, can be of real benefit.
"But from our work in this area so far, we've been impressed at how mature users can be, recognising when a chatbot system like this is of real help and when they really are better off speaking to a human."