In this episode of PTSD Bytes, Dr. Beth Jaworski, lead creator of the app COVID Coach developed by the VA National Center for PTSD, describes the many ways this app can be helpful during the pandemic.
Listen to “#2: Coping during COVID with the COVID Coach app” on Spreaker.
The COVID Coach app was developed in 2020 to help people manage the many challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as anxiety and uncertainty about the future. The app includes in-the-moment coping tools, connections to crisis and other resources, ways to keep track of how you’re doing, and information to learn more.
As with all VA mental health apps, it is free and publicly available in the App Store or Google Play. The app does not require users to sign up or log in.
Comprehensive tools and resources
COVID Coach has over 60 tools that can be used for in-the-moment coping, such as audio-guided relaxation exercises. You can try out different stress management tools to find the ones you like best. You can also take different questionnaires and track how you are doing over time.
The app also provides many helpful links, including the crisis line and other mental health resources, as well as resources for people experiencing food insecurity or financial difficulties. There are direct links specifically for Veterans and service members, and ways to connect to their communities.
To better meet the needs of even more people, the app has been translated into Spanish. Click here to learn more about COVID Coach en Español.
Privacy pop-up for Android users – Your data is still private
If you use an Android device, you may see a pop-up screen when you download COVID Coach that asks for permission to access your information, such as phone contacts and photos. Saying “yes” allows the app access to other apps on your device so you can customize the app, for example, using one of your own photos to personalize a tool.
In other words, neither VA nor any third parties can access this information – it stays on your smartphone or tablet.
COVID Coach as a starting point or supplement to care
Apps cannot replace mental health care with a trained provider, but COVID Coach does offer small things you can do for your own self-care. For those who already have a mental health care provider, COVID Coach can supplement that care by providing tools that can be used 24/7 to support your well-being.
You can choose to share information from the app with your provider privately and securely. And for those who would like to receive mental health care, the app provides resources to help find a trained provider, within or outside VA.
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many new stresses into our lives. For resources that can help you manage a variety of pandemic-related challenges, download the app here.
If you are a Veteran who is experiencing a crisis or supporting a loved one who is, call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 for immediate assistance, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/chat.