The next time disaster strikes, mental health and other response workers may find help in delivering psychological first aid (PFA) as near as their smartphones. "PFA is an evidence-informed modular approach for assisting people in the immediate aftermath of disaster and terrorism: to reduce initial distress and to foster short and long-term adaptive functioning," says the Department of Veterans Affairs' National Center for PTSD, a codeveloper of the app along with the Department of Defense's National Center for Telehealth and Technology and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network.
The computer age has dramatically impacted the practice of medicine. No matter what specialty of health care you look to, technology has enabled new tools to support the work of providers and facilitate the healing of patients -- behavioral health is no exception.
Mobile computing platforms, such as smart phones and tablet computers, provide capabilities that can provide constant, "hip pocket" access to a range of potentially helpful tools.
Before returning to treatment, former Army bomb technician Brian Sullivan used a smartphone app to cope with PTSD. Brian Sullivan, a former Army bomb technician, quit treatment for post traumatic stress when, he said, doctors began pushing him to take medications he didn’t want.
The military has released a new mobile app designed for post-traumatic stress disorder patients in a therapy known as prolonged exposure. PE Coach was developed by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and offers users a mobile way of assessing symptoms, recording therapy sessions, receiving reminders for homework and appointments and learning more about PTSD.
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