An active duty infantry officer in the U.S. Army with a masters degree in terrorism and sub-state violence from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, Chris Mercado has a deep knowledge of military strategy and what it requires of people. But he’s also tuned in to the psychological and emotional toll of serving--and decided to launch an app and foundation last year called Objective Zero to give active duty fighters and veterans a support system to help them manage their stress.
Around 20 veterans commit suicide every day, but until recently, mental health has not been at the forefront of the conversation around veteran’s services. Mercado, by creating an app that connects veterans to others who can talk them through mental health issues and hook them up with further resources, is changing that. Now that the app is up and running, he’s solidifying a partnership with the VA to build out more services through the app--and hopes to eventually drive the number of suicides down to zero.