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Delhi veteran creates app to help others deal with PTSD

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jul 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-05 22:11:07-04

DELHI TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Ray Centeno's struggle to readjust to civilian life after leaving the United States Navy in 2008 was a damaging one that cost him jobs, a marriage and much of his life's savings. Post-traumatic stress disorder had taken root in his mind -- and, as the struggle continued, so did depression.

"A lot of vets go through that," he said Thursday. "They don't know how to navigate the frustration. It sets in so quick."

Raising his son kept him present in day-to-day life and helped him stave off his most self-destructive impulses, he added. 

"That was my new set of orders," he said. "To raise him. I had to be here to raise him."

However, not every veteran has something like that --and even those who do might not be able to engage with it as they battle the mental aftershock of being involved in combat and returning to a civilian society that functions much differently than the one in which they've spent months or years immersed.

Centeno knew that, and he knew he had to help. That's why he created No Warriors Left Behind, a free smartphone application meant to connect veterans with resources that can help them manage PTSD. 

"If I can save one veteran, my job is done," he said.

The simple display of No Warriors Left Behind includes links to educational websties, support groups and -- for those at their lowest point -- a crisis hotline for veterans. Tapping the central red phone button three times will put a user on the line with someone who can counsel them through urges such as self-harm and suicide.