Local app tackles mental illness, targets veterans

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) – An app created in Spartanburg is tackling mental illness. The creators of the digital platform, Sharpen Minds, are teaming up with Upstate Warrior Solutions to use an app to help local veterans.

The announcement came Thursday after about a decade of research about the initiative by Spartanburg based husband and wife team, Tim and Robyn Farrell. Organizations can choose to offer the Sharpen App as is or white label the platform for a more personal appeal.

“The hardest thing for me is saying I have.. It’s hard for me to say now: I have post-traumatic stress. I don’t like to say that. It hurts. It feels like as a man, I’m weakened by that,” said UWS Case Coordinator Brett Claycamp in one of Sharpen’s video testimonials.

It gives a peek into the minds of service men and women who face another battle after returning home.

“We announce the answer I’ve been looking for – the Sharpen Platform,” said Co-founder Robyn Hussa Farrell as she held back tears. Farrell also serves on the Behavioral Health Task Force for United Way of the Piedmont. “To break through the shame and stigma,” said Farrell. It’s extremely emotional for me because I’ve seen so much suffering.”

It is suffering they hope to prevent by offering content and resources for the mentally ill through organizations like Upstate Warrior Solutions.

“More than 125,000 veterans here in the Upstate and we’ve reached out to maybe 2,921 in the last 3 or 4 years,” said Upstate Warrior Solutions Spartanburg Area Director John Fix.

They’re hoping testimonies and information on this new app can reach more veterans in a different way.

“It’s a connection that veteran has with ‘yes it’s on my phone, but the guy or gal is talking my language. Maybe there is a chance here and with our app, we’ll give them those chances,” said Vietnam Veteran Dr. Craig Burnette, who’s spent years in veterans’ services. “My second mission for me was to take care of my men. I tried my best and I’m still trying.”

The Sharpen Warrior app would be offered free of charge to local veterans. After testing the Sharpen Warrior App in the Upstate, founders hope to share the platform with other organizations outside the area.

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