Free Mental Health Smartphone Apps for Veterans
US Department of Veteran Affairs & Department of Defense Smartphone Apps
The Mindfulness Coach App provides you with tools and guided exercises to help you practice mindfulness, which means paying purposeful attention to the present moment without passing judgment on it or your feelings. Mindfulness Coach can be used alone, but is not intended as a substitute for therapy (iPhone only).
The PTSD Coach App helps you learn about and cope with the symptoms related to Posttraumatic Stress (PTS) that occur following trauma. PTSD Coach can be used alone, but is not intended as a substitute for mental health treatment.
The Virtual Hope Box (VHB) contains simple tools to help patients with coping, relaxation, distraction, and positive thinking. Patients and providers can work together to personalize the VHB content on the patient's own smartphone according to the patient's specific needs.
Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool. Breathe2Relax is a hands-on diaphragmatic breathing exercise. Breathing exercises have been documented to decrease the body's 'fight-or-flight' (stress) response, and help with mood stabilization, anger control, substance use urges, and anxiety management.
Tactical Breather App can be used to gain control over physiological and psychological responses to stress. Through repetitive practice and training, anyone can learn to gain control of your heart rate, emotions, concentration, and other physiological and psychological responses to your body during stressful situations.
Moving Forward App provides on-the-go tools and teaches problem solving skills to overcome obstacles and deal with stress. It is especially helpful in managing challenges such as: returning to civilian life, balancing school and family life, financial difficulties, relationship problems, difficult career decisions, and coping with physical injuries. (iPhone Only)
T2 Mood Tracker App records a range of emotions for anxiety, depression, head injury, stress, posttraumatic stress and a user’s general well-being. Users can also create items to track their progress in unique areas. The saved results are displayed in an easy-understand graph. The data is saved in a graphical or spreadsheet file which can be transferred by e-mail or other wireless connection.
Life Armor is a comprehensive learning and self-management tool to assist with common mental health concerns. Contains information on 17 topics, including sleep, depression, anger, relationship issues, substance use, and post-traumatic stress. Brief self-assessments help the user measure and track their symptoms, and tools are available to assist with managing specific problems.
The Concussion Coach App provides you with resources to help you manage symptoms of concussion or mild to moderate traumatic brain injury. Concussion Coach can be used alone, but may be more helpful when used along with treatment from a provider.
Together Strong is an interactive app that lets you practice what to say and do when a peer is struggling with adjustment to civilian life. Through interactive role-play and simulations, you'll become prepared to have a conversation that will motivate a friend to seek help, build resilience, and lead a positive life.
Parenting2Go App helps Veterans and Service Members reconnect with their children and provides convenient tools to strengthen parenting skills. Parents can find quick parenting advice; relaxation tools to use when frustrated or stressed; tools for positive communication; and strategies to switch gears between military life and home.
Stay Quit Coach App helps you “stay quit” after you stop smoking with tools to control cravings, reminder messages and support links. Stay Quit Coach is best used while in treatment with a therapist or after your treatment has ended.
MOVE! Coach Mobile (MCM) is a weight loss app for Veterans, service members, their families who want to lose weight. This 19-week program can monitor, track, and receive feedback regarding progress with weight, diet, and exercise goals. This app also helps teach SMART goals and problem-solving skills to overcome barriers.
Positive Activity Jackpot uses a professional behavioral health therapy called pleasant event scheduling (PES), which is used to overcome depression and build resilience. This app features technology to help users find nearby enjoyable activities and makes activity suggestions with local options and the ability to invite friends. (Android/Google play only)
You can download Positive Activity Jackpot on Android.
BioZen app takes many of the large medical sensors in a clinic and puts them in the hands of anyone with a smart phone. Showing real-time data from multiple body sensors including electroencephalogram (EEG), electromyography (EMG), galvanic skin response (GSR), electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), respiratory rate, and skin temperature to show users their meditative & attentive cognitive states. (Android/Google play only)
You can download Biozen on Android.
US Department of Veteran Affairs Smartphone Apps
For Use with Therapy
The ACT Coach App helps you work with a mental health professional during Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). ACT aims to help you live with unpleasant thoughts and feelings without avoiding them or being controlled by them. ACT Coach is not a self-help tool and should only be used while in therapy with a provider.
The CBT-i Coach App helps you get the most out of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia (CBT-i) so that you can develop good sleep habits and sleep better. CBT-i Coach is best used while in therapy with a provider.
The CPT Coach App helps you work with your therapist during Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT). CPT is used to reduce symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by helping you work through your thoughts and feelings about your trauma, and decrease avoidance of difficult memories. The App helps you track your progress, appointments and PTSD symptoms. CPT Coach is not a self-help tool and should only be used while in therapy with a provider.
The PE Coach App helps you work with a mental health professional during Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy. PE therapy is used to reduce symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by helping you decrease distress about your trauma by engaging with reminders of the experience (triggers). The App helps you track your progress, appointments and PTSD symptoms. PE Coach is not a self-help tool and should only be used while in therapy with a provider.
Other Apps Not from US Department of Veteran Affairs/DoD & not endorsed by VA
Suicide Safe is designed for providers, but can help Veterans and family members by equipping them with education and support resources to assess risk of suicide, communicate effectively with patients and families, determine appropriate next steps, and make referrals to treatment and community resources.
Quit That! is a simple app to track all the habit/addiction you are trying to quit. Find out how many hours, days, minutes, weeks, or years it has been since you quit each habit/addiction. Need extra motivation? You can also keep track of how much money you have saved since quitting!
You can download Quit That! on iOS.
Take a Break! Guided Meditations for Stress Relief is from the developers of relaxation apps at Meditation Oasis comes this free app to quickly recharge. Listen to a seven-minute Work Break or 13-minute Stress Relief recording with or without music or nature sounds.
Relax and Sleep Well with Glenn Harold is a twenty-nine minute guided meditation with music to help you fall and stay asleep. Relaxing and gentle, another free App available is: Relax with Andrew Johnson Lite (14 minute meditation).
Sleep Bug. Can’t fall asleep to the sound of noisy neighbors or honking cars? Sleep Bug is the perfect on-demand white noise machine. Get transported to the beach, a zen garden, or the middle of a jungle with the push of a button. There’s also a custom timer and even the ability to add noises—like rain or a whale’s call—to the scene.
You can download Sleep Bug on iOS.
US Department of Veteran Affairs Smartphone Apps, Non-Mental Health Apps
The VA Mobile Launchpad houses all Apps for Veterans that connect to VA’s Electronic Health Record (EHR) and access your personal VA health information. By signing into the VA Mobile Launchpad once with a DS Logon Level 2 (Premium) Account, you can access multiple resources without logging in to each App or website individually. (Web app)
New phone resources are routinely becoming available for our Veteran and Active Duty Service Members. You may wish to check the following websites for additional or new smart phone applications:
- The Department of Veteran Affairs App Store
- The National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2) is part of the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE). The mission of T2 is to lead the innovation of health technology solutions for psychological health and deliver tested, valued health solutions that improve the lives of our nation’s warriors, veterans, and their families.
Resource list compiled by: Brittany Hartzell, Psy.D., Local Recovery Coordinator, Fayetteville VAMC