February 25, 2013 – It all started with the Facebook page Awesome Sh!t My Drill Sergeant Said (ASMDSS), a page originally intended for humor and satire.
One night in late October, something changed it all:
Michael Yon Online: How One Facebook Page Saved a Soldier’s Life
Business Insider: Social Media Is Saving Soldiers’ Lives In Ways You’d Never Expect
The Huffington Post: How Dan, Founder Of A Military Facebook Page, Rallied His Community To Prevent A Soldier’s Suicide
The events of that night, and two more in the next week saved 3 suicidal soldiers. These incidents and the near impossible successes achieved through this revolutionary new use of social media and the Facebook platform sparked the revelation, and epiphany of what the true problem behind record high suicides is, and why so far we as a nation have not succeeded in even identifying and articulating the problem; much less presenting a solution that can solve it. In tandem, it sparked for our Founder the vision and concept of a solution that would take the successes achieved on this small scale and replicate them Nationwide and change the national discussion of and approach to these issues. Battle in Distress, Inc., a Non-Profit Organization that will serve as the vehicle for spreading the message and bringing the solution to bear was started several days later.
While waiting on the State to process and return the corporation filing, ASMDSS was hit with a deluge of suicidal, crisis, and pre-suicidal veterans, and service members in need of help following the media coverage. They were turning to ASMDSS because they knew they cared. They were getting overloaded, and the Admin Staff of Drill Sergeants were not trained to handle these types of situations. They needed an immediate solution to bridge the gap between the current situation and when Battle In Distress, Inc. would be operational. Inside of a week, Daniel Caddy (Founder/President) Tom Cruz (Vice-President) stood up the ASMDSS Crisis Response Team (CRT). They have been operating and achieving amazing successes continuing with the revolutionary use of social media as a connection and engagement medium for crisis intervention/response, and navigating through the labyrinth of resources to bring the services the troops were in need of to prevent them from reaching the suicidal state that brought them to the CRT.
Within the last week, the members of the CRT transitioned from ASMDSS to become the initial Cadre of the BID, Inc. Battle Captains for the Battle Response Team (BRT).
The BRT embraces social media as a powerful tool to assist those in need. Since December 8th 2012, the Battle Response Team has saved a total of 33 lives and over 118 Battles in Distress (BIDs) were engaged and connected to peers and resources before they started considering a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Some were threatening suicide, some simply needed someone to talk to, and others were assisted in navigating Veteran’s Affairs (VA) and other government, private, and peer-based resources. All were reminded that they are never alone.
The BRT is currently made up of 43 members of varied backgrounds. Three members, one known as a “Techie”, and two Battle Captains are assigned to handle situations that arise. Tech support for BRT members actively assisting BIDs scour Internet resources to gather as much information as possible to assist the BRT with helping those in need. A rotating assignment schedule covers those seeking help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
BRT members are currently located throughout the United States with members residing in Japan and Europe. Qualifications for the BRT are extensive and wide-ranging. Qualifications currently consist of:
- Master Resilience Trainers (MRT)
- Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)
- Crisis Negotiators
- Crisis Management Team
- QPR Qualified
- Chaplains/Chaplain Assistants
- Peer Mediation
- Crisis Intervention Training
- Civilian MD with 20 years of private practice
- IT Specialists (Techies)
- Law Enforcement
On New Years Eve 2012, a video address to the fans of ASMDSS by the Founder recounting the events and successes of the year, and giving a tease of what was to come in the New Year (Battle in Distress, Inc.).
(WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE)
YOUTUBE: A Message from HMFIC of ASMDSS about the upcoming announcement that will rock the nation!
On January 17th, 2012, Battle In Distress, Inc. was officially unveiled and launched rapidly onto the scene via a series of short YouTube videos titled “The Problem” which used professionally recorded audio with image/video highlighting the message to present the perspective of BID, Inc. on the true problems that result in suicide within the Military/Veteran population. Below is the link to the YouTube playlist that contains the video series and also the information included about the playlist.
“A nation is judged on how they treat their Warriors once they return from the field of battle. Despite our best intentions and efforts as a society, we are failing those who sacrificed for us in exchange for the unspoken promise that we, as a nation, would have their back when the fighting was done.”
– Dan Caddy, Founder of Battle In Distress, Inc.
Text from: http://battleindistress.org/history
Within 24 hours of the videos going public, the Deputy News Editor from the Army Times contacted Mr. Caddy. She and the editorial staff had been following ASMDSS and our success in giving back to and supporting the military community, our continued success in saving troop’s lives, and connecting others to peers and existing resources. They wanted to feature us in the next edition to cover ASMDSS and Battle in Distress. Below is the online version of the article, the print edition is distributed to every Army installation in the world and is read by roughly 80% of Soldiers from General Officers to Privates.
Army Personnel Division G-1 have been following our work and are pleased with it, as indicated by their statement for the article.
Since the week after the media coverage hit regarding the first Battle in Distress, our Founder and President has been working with Facebook regarding a pilot program focused on finding out how they could best leverage their technology to help the Military/Veteran community. The progress we have been making with doing just that and pushing ahead with the innovative use of their platform and our intended continued use of it in the future made a symbiotic relationship between Facebook and Battle in Distress seem inevitable. Details are still being discussed at this time.
On January 23rd 2013, at the invitation of Facebook and Stanford School of Medicine, our President Daniel Caddy traveled to Facebook Headquarters in Palo Alto, California for The 3rd Compassion Research Day at Facebook HQ to co-present the below presentation with Emma Seppala, Associate Director, Center for Compassion & Altruism Research & Education, Stanford University School of Medicine. He was asked to speak and share the story of the original event and the continued work we have been doing since, and also come back up on stage at the end for the Q&A session with those in attendance.
Beyond the Service: Veteran Healing & Empowerment through Social Media, Community & Compassion – Learn more about the research into cognitive impact/experience of serving in the military and communities/organizations that are helping in this area.
This event was streamed live worldwide to include every Facebook Office globally. You can view the archived video of the presentation by clicking on this link: Beyond the Service: Veteran Healing & Empowerment
ASMDSS and Mr. Caddy are introduced at 42:00 in the video. During the Q&A session, he was able to speak from the heart about Battle In Distress, our view of the problem, and how we intend to bring the solution that has been working on a comparatively small scale Nationwide. At minute 56:00 a member of the audience asks the perfect question and allowed for the opportunity to discuss Battle in Distress.
Monday the 4th of March will see the Battle Response Team fully transitioned and operational. We are also in discussions with stakeholders small and large to include the Department of the Army and Department of Veterans Affairs to come back to the discussion table and attack the issues the target population is experiencing which left unresolved lead to suicide, crisis, and poor quality of life.
Battle In Distress, Inc. Mission Statement:
Battle In Distress shall work to be the missing link that connects Veterans and currently serving members of the United States Armed Forces who are in or at risk for being in mental, emotional, financial, or psychological distress to the individuals, organizations, government entities, or other entities that provide services or assistance that can ameliorate the underlying problems that lead them to a state of distress.
Battle In Distress will serve as a vehicle for bringing about a national, cultural and societal change in the manner in which the matters of Stress, Resilience, Connection, PTSD, Suicide and other related issues affecting Service Members and Veterans are viewed, discussed, and addressed with regards to the best practices for caring for those that have served or are currently serving.
For more information regarding Battle In Distress please visit: