National Geographic

SDG3 target 3.4: By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.


app users


million earned media impressions

Where: USA

The challenge

For many military veterans, the return to civilian life is the toughest battle they face. Thrown back into their home environments, they are expected to go back to living a “normal life.” This can result in unexpected feelings of stress, shame, and denial—for both them and their families.  

National Geographic wanted to encourage veterans to deal with these feelings in a  positive way but had to help them overcome the stigma of seeking help. Veterans are often hesitant to try meditation and mindfulness because of the societal stereotypes it carries amongst their peers. 

The execution

The answer lay in the development of the first voice-powered meditation  app for veterans - Bravo Tango Brain Training.'The app is designed to help veterans overcome their anxiety about displaying vulnerability and speaks to them where they feel most comfortable: at home'.  

We worked with numerous veterans’ organisations along the way to ensure we understood the needs of the potential users, while National Geographic's scripted series, entitled “The Long Road Home”, provided plenty of useful insights too for the app development. 

The programme recognises over 40 moods, including anger, loneliness, anxiety, disappointment, regret, sadness, fatigue, fear and insomnia and pairs users with an appropriate exercise based on how they’re feeling. Exercises range from breathing, and focus, to grounding and visualisation, even interpersonal connection and muscle relaxation. 

The approach used in the app was supported by numerous studies, including those published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, Military Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Psychology. These studies have found that breathing-based meditation intervention can reduce stress, anxiety, feelings of depression, and slow respiration rates. 

The results

Since the launch of the project, the Bravo Tango Brain Training app has gained over 10,000 new users, while the average time spent on the app in the first month of launch was 10 minutes. The launch of the app also garnered a huge amount of coverage with an estimated 405 million earned media impressions that helped to highlight the problems veterans face.  

Check out more inspiring examples of our work on SDG3.