Smartphone App Helps Troops, Vets Manage Stress

WASHINGTON — Vet­er­ans deal­ing with symp­toms of post-trau­mat­ic stress dis­or­der can turn to their smart­phones for help any time with the “PTSD Coach” appli­ca­tion cre­at­ed by the Vet­er­ans Affairs and Defense depart­ments.
“This is about giv­ing vet­er­ans and ser­vice mem­bers the help they earned when and where they need it,” Vet­er­ans Affairs Sec­re­tary Eric K. Shin­se­ki said. “We hope they, their fam­i­lies and friends down­load this free app. Under­stand­ing PTSD and those who live with it is too impor­tant to ignore.”

PTSD Coach lets users track their symp­toms, links them with local sources of sup­port, pro­vides accu­rate infor­ma­tion and help­ful indi­vid­u­al­ized strate­gies for man­ag­ing symp­toms, offi­cials said. The app is now avail­able for down­load from the iTunes Store and will be avail­able for Android devices by the end of the spring.

“This appli­ca­tion acknowl­edges the fre­quen­cy with which our war­riors and vet­er­ans use tech­nol­o­gy and allows them to get help when and where they feel most com­fort­able,” said Dr. Jonathan Wood­son, assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense for health affairs.

PTSD Coach is pri­mar­i­ly designed to enhance ser­vices for indi­vid­u­als who are already receiv­ing men­tal health care, though it is help­ful for those con­sid­er­ing enter­ing men­tal health care and those who just want to learn more about post-trau­mat­ic stress, offi­cials said.

“This is a great ser­vice we are pro­vid­ing to vet­er­ans, ser­vice mem­bers, their fam­i­lies and friends, but it should not be seen as a replace­ment for tra­di­tion­al ther­a­py,” said Dr. Robert Pet­zel, VA’s under­sec­re­tary for health. “Vet­er­ans should uti­lize all of the ben­e­fits they have earned with their ser­vice, and one of the best things about this app is it will get vet­er­ans con­nect­ed to the places that are out there to pro­vide help.”

The appli­ca­tion is one of the first in a series of joint­ly designed resources by the VA Nation­al Cen­ter for PTSD and the Defense Department’s Nation­al Cen­ter for Tele­health and Tech­nol­o­gy to help ser­vice mem­bers, vet­er­ans, their fam­i­lies and friends man­age their read­just­ment chal­lenges and get anony­mous assis­tance, offi­cials said.

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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