The Pentagon and Veterans Affairs have developed a number of iPhone and iPad apps to help soldiers struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The latest one, PTSD Coach, offers a self-assessment test, step-by-step instructions in muscle relaxation and breathing as well as resources for support and suicide prevention. Others like Breathe2Relax , Tactical Breather and T2 MoodTracker are “portable stress management tools” offering breathing exercises and mood assessment.
Though they are not meant to replace counseling or serve to diagnose PTSD, not everyone embraced the idea of the apps at first.
“I’m not going to lie — when this came out, we sort of wanted to slam it,” Staff Sgt. Meg Krause said of her group of veteran friends. “But it surprised us and has been a phenomenal tool,” said the 29-year-old reservist and medic, who has had counseling for PTSD.
Still, these apps — portable and offered free to users — may be valuable tools to supplement counseling.
Last year alone, the VA reported that over 400,000 veterans who received mental health treatment were diagnosed with PTSD.
So far MoodTracker has been downloaded about 17,000 times since it was released in April 2011. PTSD Coach, launched in May, has been downloaded about 11,000 times in 37 countries, including Mexico, Latvia and Japan.