Understanding Posttraumatic Stress with PTSD Coach
Combat deployments can sometimes result in exposure to traumatic events, such as losing a close friend, bodily harm, violent experiences or even extended separation from loved ones. Ongoing stress reactions to these situations may eventually, but not always, lead to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
The Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for PTSD and the Defense Department’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology collaborated to create a free mobile app to help service members and veterans learn about and manage the symptoms that commonly occur after traumatic events. PTSD Coach is a supplement to psychological health care and support received by service members and veterans experiencing signs or symptoms of PTSD. Family and friends of service members and veterans are also encouraged to use to the mobile app to learn more about PTSD and support resources.
The app is currently available for Apple iPhone and iPad via iTunes, as well as Android-powered devices. You can download the PTSD Coach app anonymously, and if you share your data with a health care provider, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws maintain your privacy. For peace of mind, you might consider adding a strong password to keep your mobile device secure.
How the App Works
Service members and veterans can use PTSD Coach to learn more about PTSD, conduct a self-assessment, manage symptoms and find support resources. For example, when the user completes a self-assessment of PTSD symptoms, the app will provide individualized feedback with the option to track symptom changes over time. While PTSD Coach does not formally diagnose PTSD, it can help the user manage their PTSD symptoms by providing suggestions on coping skills and assistance for common symptoms, including relaxation and self-help techniques. The app can also be used to create and connect with a support network by identifying people who can provide the user with emotional support and add contact info to the phone. When a service member or veteran is in need of immediate support, the app can link the user directly to the Military Crisis Line for immediate intervention and care. The app also features educational information about trauma, PTSD and care resources for on-the-go needs.
Download PTSD Coach - Available through Apple iTunes or the Android Marketplace, or the application can be installed on Apple and Android mobile devices through the QR codes below, which is also available on the PTSD Coach home page.
While the app is specifically tailored to service members and veterans, families and friends can also use the PTSD Coach. They can learn about PTSD, psychological health care options and how to help their service member or veteran manage PTSD symptoms as well as identify support resources. Additionally, families and friends can help their loved one setup their support network within the app, which helps the service member or veteran connect to personal sources of support to manage stressful situations. PTSD Family Coach, an app geared specifically to families and friends, is coming soon! For more information on the PTSD Family Coach, visit the National Center for PTSD.
Stress can occur at any time and PTSD Coach is there to help you manage PTSD symptoms in the moment. Through your smartphone, you can track your progress and reference any of the PTSD management tools or educational information 24/7. Use the app to connect with your support network or for immediate needs, connect with the Military Crisis Line.
Knowing the facts about PTSD can make a real difference in the lives of those who need support. PTSD Coach provides service members, veterans, their friends and families with dependable resources they can trust. Many service members who experience PTSD symptoms can benefit from care and support, but some fear that they may be considered weak or that leaders or unit members might lose confidence in their abilities if they seek care. The information available through the PTSD Coach app can help service members and their loved ones overcome those concerns and obtain accurate information about PTSD and find the support they need.
For more information on PTSD, check out the Real Warriors Campaign articles “Five Steps Veterans Can Take to Support PTSD Treatment” and “Dispelling Myths About PTSD”.