04/26/2011 10:14 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Smartphone App from the VA and DOD Helps Veterans Manage PTSD

Veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can now find help in the palm of their hands.

Tech experts at the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense have built a unique smartphone app that allows users to track PTSD symptoms and provides resources, support and education. The PTSD Coach app is available for free download from the iTunes store and will soon be available for Android devices.

"This is about giving veterans and service members the help they earned when and where they need it," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in a news release. "We hope they, their families and friends, download this free app. Understanding PTSD and those who live with it is too important to ignore."

Veterans can use the app to connect with local support services and to create individualized action plans for managing PTSD symptoms. The VA and DOD created the app primarily for veterans who are already receiving mental health care.

But the PTSD Coach app can be used by service members, military families and the community at large to learn more about the disorder and its symptoms.

"This is a great service we are providing to veterans, service members, their families and friends, but it should not be seen as a replacement for traditional therapy," said Dr. Robert Petzel, the VA Under Secretary for Health. "Veterans should utilize all of the benefits they have earned with their service and one of the best things about this app is it will get veterans connected to the places that are out there to provide help."

The PTSD app is among the first in a suite of technological resources designed by the VA National Center for PTSD and the Defense Department's National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

More are on the way.