Welcome to the new VA podcast, PTSD Bytes! In each episode, host and clinical psychologist Pearl McGee-Vincent from the VA National Center for PTSD talks to an expert or innovator about how technology can support people with PTSD or other mental health concerns. There are many resources out there, so join us for “bite-sized” pieces of practical information you can use or share.
In the first episode of PTSD Bytes, Dr. Jason Owen, clinical psychologist at the VA National Center for PTSD, describes the VA mobile mental health apps that his team developed.
Mobile mental health apps
In addition to providing world-class mental health care, VA also offers many mobile mental health apps. The apps are free and publicly available in the App Store or Google Play. Each app includes in-the-moment coping tools, connections to crisis and other resources, ways to keep track of how you’re doing, and information to learn more.
Episode 1 is live on Spreaker.
No diagnosis needed
These apps were created to address symptoms of PTSD or related concerns. However, you do not need to have a diagnosis of PTSD to use them. Dr. Owen highlights that the apps do not require any mental health diagnosis at all. For example, PTSD Coach can be used by anyone who has experienced a traumatic event. Dr. Owen also talks about how the app Mindfulness Coach can be helpful for people, like himself, who may be skeptical about mindfulness.
You don’t have to be a Vet
VA mobile mental health apps were designed with Veterans in mind, first and foremost. However, anyone can use these apps – family members, health care professionals and members of the public. These apps do not collect or share any personal information, and they are backed by scientific evidence and expertise.
Importantly, VA mobile mental health apps do not provide a diagnosis and they are not a replacement for treatment with a health care professional. They can be used for your own self-care, to help you connect to treatment, or to supplement treatment you may be receiving.
Have you tried an app and found a bug? Have ideas or questions about an app? Your feedback helps Dr. Owen’s team make these apps better! Email your thoughts, questions or comments to: MobileMentalHealth@va.gov.
If you are a Veteran who is experiencing a crisis or supporting a loved one who is, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 for immediate assistance, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/chat.