One of the biggest issues Veterans face with mental health care is the stigma attached to asking for help. After all, we’re told to suck it up and drive on in the military for the sake of the team. That idea may carry on when folks leave the service, which makes undiagnosed and untreated symptoms of post-traumatic stress even worse.

To help counter that, VA and the Department of Defense have created free smart phone applications—like the PTSD Coach—that can help Vets identify signs of PTSD, manage symptoms, and connect with resources and help instantly. And putting this tool right in the hands of Veterans has proven to be effective.

From the Boston Globe:

Studies suggest that helping veterans and others early on in their experience with trauma-related stress may prevent some of the more catastrophic effects of PTSD. That requires giving people who aren’t sure whether their symptoms are severe enough to warrant attention from a doctor — or don’t want to admit it — a safe route to learn more. And it means finding effective ways to treat the large numbers of service members who have experienced war-related trauma in the past decade.

The PTSD Coach app can be downloaded for free on iTunes and the Android Marketplace.

But what about Vets without smartphones? Much of the same information and resources can be found at VA’s National Center for PTSD, and the Veterans Crisis Line can be reached day or night at 1-800-273-8255, through text message at 838255, or online chat, 365 days a year.

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Published on Aug. 20, 2012

Estimated reading time is 1.4 min.

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  1. David C. Kent, Jr August 23, 2012 at 7:43 pm

    We need help in the improvement of the VA clinic in Newport, Or.

    • Scott Petterson August 28, 2012 at 11:18 pm

      Contact Ron Wyden’s office and let him know what concerns you have or what needs to be addressed at the VA Clinic in Newport. He launched a congressional investigation on my behalf and I know that he deeply cares about veterans. Best of luck to you and thank you for your service!!

  2. James Wood August 23, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I experienced the same thing in almost exactly the same time span. I had completed over 100 missions in the C-130B-2 from Japan throughout East Asia with extensive TDY’s in Bangkok and stopovers and special short term missions at Da Nang during which I came under active gunfire. As you said, there are no records of most of these events and the majority of them are still classified. I received the Air Medal and was entitled to others for which I did not apply. Our entire squadron received the Air Force Outstanding Award for excellence in intelligence gathering. Those of us on flight status also received the “V” for Valor, a combat decoration. For reasons I will not go into, the C-130B was not the best choice of aircraft for the job because it was not intended for long term endurance flights on a daily basis. This resulted in numerous aborted missions as well as a number of harrowing experiences which had us all convinced at the time that we were going down with no assistance within a thousand miles. As a civilian I was always chosen for the toughest jobs and did them well, rising quickly to top management, but I could not hold the position and often moved on. I new that something was seriously wrong with me but did not know what. Finally in the depth of despair I learned at that late date that treatment was available from the VA. I have now been in treatment since 1990, at first diagnosed with Bipolar-2 disorder to which, however, PTSD was added, believe it or not, over my objection. I am a lot older now. I have since been in close touch with the guys with whom I flew and discovered that my problem was not singular to me. I have experienced a rocky life, often wishing that I had gone down back then. Only reading, keeping busy, and friendships have sustained me. The wounds where not on the outside. They remain on the inside.


  3. Bill Boltinghouse August 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    From 1969 to about 1989, I did not know what was wrong with me other than I was upset and sometimes despondent that we left so many guys behind in Laos (about 600) and in Vietnam and other countries (about another 2000) as well as those who were taken to Communist Bloch Countries!
    In 1989, I went to an All Vets reunion near Scott AFB and it was called Tribute 89!
    I toured the various booths and on this display was several brochures! One of them was a Civilian Brochure with the title “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder”! It showed some pictures on the front of Combat Soldiers so I picked it up with others to see what it was about!
    As I opened it and read the info, I was shocked, it described everything that was going on with me. I was married at the time and called my wife over to show her the brochure! She looked and said, “That’s you!” to the points!
    That was the first time that I had to face the fact that I had PTSD!
    We went from there to Jefferson Barracks to the All Vets reunion and a few days later back to Hannibal Mo!
    I called the VA either July 3rd or July 5th to ask what I needed to do to get help!
    I had my orders sending me to Vietnam as well as a letter awarding my with the Combat Air Crew Badge but my major information is classified and will likely always be classified!
    The woman on the phone said I did not have enough proof that I was in Combat and as such forget trying to get help!
    In 1995, I visited the VA in Omaha and they determined that I had PTSD, but they would not help me since I could not prove that I was in Combat! I even got told that I was never wounded and that PTSD was only for those who were wounded!
    In 2001 and 2002 after 9-11, I had access to the internet and found the FAS web site and found out the the EC-47 and the RC-130BII and the RC-135 had been downgraded for what we did (overt classifications only) so I could finally discuss the basic flights!
    I asked Rep Steve King’s office for help and they got me in touch with the AIA and they wrote a letter to the VA and others stating that I was indeed in a Combat role (an yes they even sent another copy of my orders and the Combat Air Crew Badge letter!
    I was finally awarded 30% disabled for PTSD which I appealed and got 50%!
    I have been able to chase down more info in the time after this and found out more details!
    I have found out that we were awarded 2 Outstanding Unit Citations as well as a Presidential Unit Citation! You do not get these unless you are a Combat Unit!
    I am not going into all the things I experienced, but suffice it to say that even coming…

    • Juanima August 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      @Bill Boltinghouse – I was horrified at your story about them not helping you. Back then, “officials” knew nothing about PTSD or, clearly, how you can get it. I hope this doesn’t sound condescending, but I am so PROUD of you for fighting and not giving up. I know what it’s like to be rejected when you’re trying to get help. It’s hard enough asking for it! I know the road of finally getting the courage, only to be shot down. It took tremendous courage for you to keep going, and you were rewarded. I hope things are better for you now! I, too, was awarded disability for PTSD in 2008 after three years of rejected appeals. I got the right guy to see my application and basically say, “What is wrong with you people? Can’t you see this is justified?” It changed everything for me. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I wish you the best, and hope your life improves immensely.

    • Carl M.Winstead August 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm


  4. Edward Bouquet August 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

    Technologie has become key in many aspects
    of health care ,the App from the V A is positive proof
    that our country cares and has developed another tool
    to reach out for those in need.

    • NoMad August 28, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Did the government tell you that once you are identified with PTSD that your 2nd amendment rights go away…..FOREVER!

      Your rights will be taken away for some money. How sad.

      • tr14l September 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm

        That’s blatantly not true. Like…not even a little true

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