PTSD Coach app

PTSD Coach app

  • An app created by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for anyone with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
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PTSD Coach app By US Department of Veteran Affairs

Features

  • Self-help tools.
  • Symptom tracking.
  • Education and information.
  • Self-assessment.
Country of origin USA
Clinical review 

5 star review


Read a clinical review below.

Security and privacy Does the app:
  • Collect medical information? Yes
  • Require a login? No
  • Have password protection? No
  • Have a privacy policy? Yes
  • Require internet access to use? No

Read more about safety and security when using apps.

Brochures:
Tips to improve your privacy and security [PNG, 200 KB] Health Navigator Charitable Trust, NZ
Staying safe online(external link) Netsafe, NZ

Cost Free
How to get the app

The app has 4 sections in which users can learn about PTSD, find ways to manage it, track their symptoms and get further support. In the ‘manage’ section users are provided with a variety of tools and tips for coping with PTSD such a guided relaxation audio tracks and imagery exercises. To track symptoms, users complete a 20-question assessment on a regular basis. The app allows users to view their symptom scores in a graph, export their score, and set up reminders to take the assessment.

For a more detailed description of the app, see Google Play(external link) or iTunes(external link) and for a detailed review, see reviews below.


PROS CONS 

 Is a useful self-help tool that allows users to independently monitor a range of symptoms commonly experienced by individuals exposed to trauma.

 Has numerous, easy-to-read, commonly asked questions and answers about PTSD. 

✔ Provides users with multiple tools to manage symptoms, most of which are included in evidence based treatments for PTSD including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy.

✔ Includes form to design own safety plan for times of crisis.

✔ App is easy to navigate and tools are easy to find. There is an option to make a list of favourite tools.

✔ Tools can be personalised with the addition of the user’s own photos and music.

Contact information for crisis resources and professional care is US-based and not applicable to New Zealand users.

Clinical review

5 star review



Reviewer
: Kris Garstang, Clinical Psychologist, Life Mind Psychology
Date of review: April 2022
Platform: Android

Version: 3.4.2
Comments: Like the other apps in the suite of Veterans Affairs self help apps, this is an excellent, evidence-based app for those wanting to learn about and manage the symptoms of PTSD. The numerous tools offered are all effective strategies for managing distress and there are enough of them for people to find ones that they like and are helpful for them. I really liked that it can be useful at the time someone is experiencing symptoms, with tool suggestions provided based on the symptom the person is finding difficult. It is good also to see the Safety Plan added in a recent update and I think many people with PTSD will find this helpful despite the US contacts provided. I would have no hesitation in recommending this app to my clients with PTSD.
NZ relevance: Relevant to a New Zealand audience, but see safety concern below.
Safety concerns: This app has a lot of good content for managing risks to self that are not available to non-US citizens. Users will need to populate the app with their own list of emergency contacts using the Safety Plan if they would like it to manage crisis situations. Audios all have voice with US accents.


User review

5 star review



Reviewer
: Member of the public, Auckland, New Zealand
Date of review: August 2021

Comments: This app gave me options to manage my PTSD from military deployments and Police work. I found I could relate to the app's content and there was a simplicity to it all - just need to have NZ based contacts loaded.  


Clinical review

3 star review



Reviewer
: Dr Lily Shue, General Practitioner, Auckland
Date of review: November 2017
Platform: Android
Version: 3.1

Comments: The app includes lots of information in 4 areas: learn, track, manage and support. It includes self-help tools for deep breathing, muscle relaxation and positive framing, and also has sounds and quotes. However the app crashed my phone and users have to first agree to a wordy terms and conditions section. The app does haven't many pictures. There are related apps: PTSD Coach Australia and PTSD Families.
Safety concerns: None.
New Zealand relevance: Crisis resources and professional help in support section are American.

U.S Department of Veteran Affairs website(external link)
Coulon SM, Monroe CM, West DS. A systematic, multi-domain review of mobile smartphone apps for evidence-based stress management.(external link) Am J Prev Med. 2016 Jul;51(1):95-105.

Related resources

This app has been reviewed by other independent websites:

This US-based app has been adapted by other countries:

Other useful resources

This app has been reviewed by other independent websites.

References

The following references relate to articles about apps for Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    1. Possemato K, Kuhn E, Johnson EM, et al. Development and refinement of a clinician intervention to facilitate primary care patient use of the PTSD Coach app(external link). Transl Behav Med. 2016 Feb 22.
    2. Miller CJ, McInnes DK, Stolzmann K, et al. Interest in use of technology for healthcare among veterans receiving treatment for mental health.(external link) Telemed J E Health. 2016 Oct;22(10):847-854. Epub 2016 Mar 16.
    3. Price M, Kuhn E, Hoffman JE, Ruzek J, et al. Comparison of the PTSD Checklist (PCL) administered via a mobile device relative to a paper form(external link) J Trauma Stress. 2015 Oct;28(5):480-3.

Disclaimer: The NZ Health App Library is a free consumer service to help you decide whether a health app would be suitable for you. Our review process is independent. We have no relationship with the app developers or companies and no responsibility for the service they provide. This means that if you have an issue with one of the apps we have reviewed, you will need to contact the app developer or company directly.

Credits: Healthify editorial team. Healthify is brought to you by Health Navigator Charitable Trust.