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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

‘LifeArmor’ Mobile App Puts Coping Tools at Your Fingertips

‘LifeArmor’ Mobile App Puts Coping Tools at Your Fingertips

Posted by: Robyn Mincher, Defense Centers of Excellence

Friday, July 27, 2012

LifeArmor, a new mobile application from the National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2)a Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury center, aims to provide essential resources for coping with stress and building resilience.

Modeled after the afterdeployment.org website and available on iPhone, iPad and Android systems, the app provides information on 17 different areas where post-deployment issues and stressors can impact. Each topic includes an assessment, information about concerns related to the topic, videos of those who coped with an issue and tools to help cope with psychological concerns and traumatic brain injury.

“The app features many of the issues that are common to service members and military families, including tips for families and friendships, life stress and anxiety, mild traumatic brain injury, anger, substance abuse and military sexual trauma,” Dr. Julie Kinn, T2 psychologist and mobile applications lead said.

The app also provides interactive ways to engage users who might be hesitant about reaching out for help, as well as resources that connect them with support.

“If a user says, ‘Do I really have a sleep problem?’ they can use the tools even if they’re not ready to see a provider,” Kinn said. “Users can assess themselves, learn ways to cope and connect with help, such as close support contacts they can import, a Military OneSource consultant and the DCoE Outreach Center.”

The tools offer different ways to help users cope with stress, such as a time-out clock for parents who may need time to themselves, or a writing tool for inspiration when a user may be going through a tough time. The “Gratitude Letter” writing tool encourages users to write a note of thanks to someone who has made a difference in their lives — an activity that can help lift moods and enhance a relationship with a supportive person.

Like afterdeployment.org, the LifeArmor assessments, educational materials and tools are evidence-based resources that help manage post-deployment concerns. With the introduction of the app, users can navigate through an issue and access a variety of provider-approved materials and support immediately from the palm of their hand.

“Our smartphones and tablet computers are becoming an extension of ourselves. Having this resource on a mobile phone is essential because we don’t always have access to the Internet, and we can’t always predict when we’re going to need these materials,” Kinn said.

Learn more about the LifeArmor app.

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