By: Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT
June is PTSD Awareness Month and in its honor, we would like to share this great app created by the VA’s National Center for PTSD in partnership with the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology. According to the National Center for PTSD, about 60% of men and 50% of women experience a trauma in their lives. Approximately 7-8% of the US population will have PTSD at some point in their lives. For Veterans, the number of PTSD cases in a given year varies by the service era with approximately 11-20% who served in OIF or EIF.
Thinking about the statistics above and the ever- growing use of technology, the National Center for PTSD has created a mobile app designed to provide education and assistance in managing symptoms that may occur after trauma. This app has multiple features including the following sections: Learn, Track, Manage, and Support.
This option provides three different categories where you can learn about PTSD, get professional help, and how PTSD impacts the family. Each category features questions, answers, and resources that may assist people in learning more about their own symptoms or those of a loved one.
This option also provides three different categories offering users the option of taking an assessment, reviewing assessment history, and scheduling an assessment. These three options allow users to monitor their results over time to assess whether their symptoms are getting better or worse. An easy- to- read graph is provided so that users can quickly determine their progress. Additionally, users can schedule times to take their self-assessments where the app will remind them to complete it. They recommend using the month schedule to take the assessment.
This option has several symptoms in a list, offering the user a ‘distress meter’ where they can determine their level of distress at any given time. After the user enters their level of distress, the app provides a tool to help manage the symptoms and change the level of distress. The tools range from ambient sounds to inspiring quotes. There is also an option for adding favorite pictures and sounds to assist in self-soothing techniques.
The final option offers users three categories as well, including crisis resources, find professional care, and grow your support. These categories feature phone numbers to hotlines for crisis intervention and a place where users can add phone numbers that may be helpful to them. Additionally, there is information on ways to locate mental health care providers for the general public and veterans in their area.
PTSD Coach is a wonderful resource for those who are struggling with or know someone who is struggling with symptoms of PTSD. While this does not take the place of professional evaluation and help, it is certainly a tool that can be used in a very personalized and private manner, offering some light during those dark times. This app is available for FREE download from iTunes and Google Play.
This post was written by Bari Sobelson, MS, LMFT, the Social Media and Programming Coordination Specialist for the MFLN Family Development Team. The Family Development team aims to support the development of professionals working with military families. Find out more about the Military Families Learning Network Family Development concentration on our website, Facebook, and Twitter.