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.