Mercado, an infantry officer with the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii, is the 2017 Army Times Soldier of the Year.
He and Miller co-founded the all-volunteer Objective Zero Foundation and came up with an app that allows users to chat with someone via message, video or phone call at the push of a button. This app is set to be released in July.
When you open the app, it shows a map of the people who are closest to you who are available to talk or provide comfort.
Mercado said users should already have the app downloaded before a moment of crisis hits, and the foundation wants to provide tangible incentives to download it. To do this, the Objective Zero Foundation has partnered with nonprofits, including Headspace, the meditation app.
"They are providing all of our vets and service members with free access to Headspace" as long as the user verifies his or her military service via the app, he said.
Charlsy Panzino covers the Guard and Reserve, training, technology, operations and features for Army Times and Air Force Times. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.