Leveraging technology to improve military mental health: Novel uses of smartphone apps

Eric Vermetten, Josh Granek, Hamid Boland, Erik Ten Berge, Olaf Binsch, Lior Carmi, Joseph Zohar, Gary Wynn, Rakesh Jetly

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Smartphones have made promising contributions to the field of military mental health by providing novel app-based approaches to enhance training and deployment, data collection, and creating social domains for participants to share information and perform research. Methods: This article reviews four applications designed specifically for military members and Veterans that increase mental health literacy, overcome barriers to care, and enhance well-being and performance. Results: The Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) app is an on-the-go training tool based on cognitive behavioural theory (CBT). Unit Victor connects Veterans in a secure chat environment and provides information on available supports. UrMMIND is a pre-deployment tool designed to reinforce healthy behaviours and teach coping techniques. iFeel passively collects and analyses individual smartphone data to detect early signs of depression. Discussion: Mobile apps are playing an ever-increasing role within health care and, when designed and integrated correctly, can yield many benefits. While security and privacy need to be carefully weighed and addressed, they hold the potential to empower the end user in a range of novel ways that were not possible before.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-43
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Military, Veteran and Family Health
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Mental health apps
  • Military mental health
  • NATO
  • PTSD
  • Trauma resilience
  • Veterans

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