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Six apps to help manage stress

Unmanaged stress can affect your overall well-being and lead to anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, substance misuse and more. Managing stress can be additionally challenging for those with PTSD—a condition that is more common among Veterans than civilians.

That’s why VA offers virtual resources specifically designed to help Veterans and their family members manage stress and practice self-care. These free tools offer education about PTSD and a range of related mental health concerns while also offering information about how to connect with professional support when needed.

Here are six VA mobile apps that Veterans and their families can use to manage stress and support their self-care:

1 & 2. PTSD Coach and PTSD Family Coach

Mobile apps Veterans use to manage stress

PTSD Coach helps Veterans manage stress in-the-moment. Developed with input from Veterans and mental health professionals, the app provides self-assessment tools, educational resources and coping strategies for managing PTSD symptoms.

You can use PTSD Coach to take a PTSD self-assessment and track symptoms. The app also offers tools for managing the stress of daily life, including guided relaxation exercises, soothing sounds and images, relationship tips and more.

The PTSD Family Coach app helps family members of those living with PTSD. It can help users manage stress, take care of themselves and tend to their relationships. The app features include mindfulness exercises, a stress level tracker, and tools that can help users process difficult emotions and build their social networks.

3. Mindfulness Coach

The Mindfulness Coach app teaches you how to establish a simple mindfulness routine. Mindfulness means noticing and paying attention to the present moment without passing judgment. It has been shown to be helpful for reducing stress and improving symptoms of anxiety, depression and chronic pain.

Mindfulness Coach features a self-guided training program with 12 audio exercises and a catalog of additional exercises you can download.

4. Annie for Veterans

Annie for Veterans is VA’s automated text messaging service that empowers Veterans to take an active role in their health care.

Messages you receive from Annie can include medication reminders, tips for reducing stress and more. The Stress Management message subscription sends weekly motivational texts to help you become more mindful, learn relaxation techniques and better manage stress.

Registration is required to begin receiving Annie messages. Find instructions on the VA App Store and then subscribe by texting “SUB STRESS” to Annie (75338).

5. VetChange

The VetChange app is designed to help Veterans who are concerned about their drinking habits and would like to cut down or quit. It features numerous categories of interactive tools and strategies for managing stress and urges related to drinking. You can gain insight into how your drinking relates to different moods and situations, learn about alcohol use and PTSD, and track your progress.

6. MOVE! Coach

Exercise has been proved to lower stress levels and the MOVE! Coach app is an excellent choice for those who want to combat stress as well as get in shape. With this mobile tool, users can find weight management information and resources, and record their progress toward weight goals.

Features include self-management modules, trackers, nutrition information and built-in support systems, allowing users to share their progress on social media, challenge friends to build healthier habits and read stories from other MOVE! Coach users.

By using these applications, Veterans can take proactive steps toward improved mental health, fostering a sense of empowerment and connection as they navigate post-service life.

VA mobile apps are not intended to replace therapy or for use in a crisis. Talk with your VA care team about getting help for medical or mental health issues related to stress. If you need immediate crisis support, contact the Veterans Crisis Line for 24/7 confidential support. Dial 988 and press 1, text to 838255 or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.

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