The PTSD Coach smartphone application (app), launched in April by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), has already helped more than 5,000 users connect with important mental health information and resources.
"This new tool is about helping Veterans and Servicemembers when and where they need it," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "We are encouraged so many have already downloaded this resource and hope many more will utilize this convenient tool to access VA services."
Since its launch, the PTSD Coach app has been downloaded by thousands of individuals. While 96 percent of the users so far are located in the United States, the app has also been downloaded in 25 other countries. The app lets users track their PTSD symptoms, links them with public and personalized sources of support, provides accurate information about PTSD, and teaches helpful strategies for managing PTSD symptoms on the go.
Currently, the PTSD Coach app has received perfect customer review scores on the iTunes App Store. Comments from Veterans and family members are overwhelmingly positive and one user describes the app as "a must for every spouse who has a family member with PTSD." Professionals have sent positive reviews, suggestions and offers to collaborate on research evaluating the PTSD Coach app.
The app has also already proven to be a useful tool for the staff at the Veterans Crisis Line. Within the first two hours of the app's official launch, the Crisis Line staff were contacted by a distressed Veteran who reported being instructed by the app to call the crisis line and was subsequently given an appointment at the local VA medical center. Crisis Line staff have begun to regularly recommend this resource to callers.
The app is one of the first in a series of jointly-designed resources by the VA National Center for PTSD and DoD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology to help Servicemembers and Veterans manage their readjustment challenges and get anonymous assistance. Given the popularity of mobile devices, VA and DoD hope to reach tens of thousands of Veterans, Servicemembers, and their family members with the new suite of apps.
Information on the PTSD Coach app is on the VA's National Center for PTSD Website: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/PTSDCoach.asp. More apps from DoD's National Center for Telehealth and Technology can be found at: http://www.t2health.org/apps.