Tech Check: Military PTSD app - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Tech Check: Military PTSD app

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Georgia welcomed home some of its brave men and women at Fort Benning on Saturday after being deployed in Afghanistan for nearly two years.

Can a smart phone app save your life? The military is designing a powerful smart phone app to help our fighting men and women cope both emotionally and psychologically with the transition back to everyday life. The idea of the app is to help reduce the stresses in post-combat issues.

The app is called PE Coach. It is designed for any Soldier, Sailor, Airman, or Marine or Veteran who may be battling with post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-combat PTSD can be crippling. It leads to among other things anxiety, depression, and even suicide.

Atlanta author Christal Presley recently wrote a book about her families struggles with PTSD after her father returned from Vietnam. Her book deals with the issues which affected her and her father more than 30 years, but are relevant to today's troops.

"Back then in the 70s there was no term PTSD so my father just thought he was going crazy," said author Christal Presley.

The Pentagon reported this summer that the military suicide rate had reached one a day. That statistic surpassed the number of troops who died in combat.

Sgt. First Class Michael Schlitz talked about it in a recent interview with FOX 5. He was burned over 85-percent of his body in an IED explosion.

"We have to do something to bring those numbers down. Every time I read about it in the newspaper I take it very personal," said Schlitz.

One app the military is working on is called a Virtual Hope Box. It mimics a popular strategy in suicide prevention where a patient and clinician fill a shoe box or hope box with reminders of reasons to live. The apps also stores reminders from family members as well has emergency contact info.

Presley says she likes the idea because she says what affects our veterans, affects their families.

"I also gravitated between rage and depression. Just like my father, I cut myself. I stapled myself. I wanted to mimic his experiences as much as I could that was the only way that I could be close to him," said Presley.

Presley's book "Thirty Days with My Father: Finding Peace from Wartime PTSD" is available in November from HCI Books.

PE Coach app:

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