WDAY: The News Leader

Published July 28, 2011, 09:46 PM

New phone app helps veterans deal with stress

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - With so many veterans from our region back from serving deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the VA is urging many of them to take advantage of mental health services that are out there for them.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

But returning soldiers are learning about this via technology they are most familiar with---- their phones. New phone apps are now available which help the men and women get the care they need.

“Close your eyes and take a deep breath.”

From deep breathing and relaxation exercises, to suicide prevention hotline numbers, the new phone app called PTSD Coach, along with a handful of others is helping veterans self assess then pointing them in the direction of mental health care quickly.

Dr. Pam Wolf PharmD/VA Psychiatry Specialist: “And having it as a phone app that so many of our veterans have in our pocket.”

Wolf: “They have this info with them all the time and it is accessible to them when it is exactly when they need it to be. And very personalized for the symptom they are experiencing at that time.”

This phone app has another unique option it tracks and maintains the history of the vet's symptoms and other concerns. That info is shared with the veteran's physician nurse or other provider.

Wolf: “You can take a look at that and determine if there was a stressor and see if there is something to work on with them and help with these periods of time.”

Cpt. John Washburn serves in the Minnesota Guard and was part of the extended deployment to Iraq.

Captain John Washburn – Minnesota National Guard: “Especially how tech savvy soldiers are they are using phones for everything. A generation that uses this for everything and another thing they can use it for.”

It is especially useful for those returning veterans who may be unsure about their feelings. Rather than calling for appointments or driving to the hospital, the app is a one touch step in getting help and healing for those who served our country.