Would You Test a PTSD App for Stanford University?


By Debbie Gregory.

One of the biggest concerns for combat Veterans is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Service members who survived the horrific events of war and witnessed the aftermath when the dust cleared often struggle with the brain’s inability to cope with the memories of those experiences. Many people don’t understand PTSD. Our service members volunteer to be put in the position where serious bodily harm and death can occur.  They also face the risk of a lifetime of unmanageable memories from events that occur while in the military.

A number of government agencies, including the Departments of Defense (DOD) and Veterans Affairs (VA), continue to fund programs that treat service members and Veterans with PTSD and also fund programs that research PTSD in order to better treat symptoms and provide the best care for service members. One of the programs that the VA has funded has developed a mobile application (app) that Veterans and service members can download onto their personal smartphones. The VA sponsored app was designed to offer rapid care for users who suffer from PTSD. The app provides users with general information of PTSD, a self-assessment tool, helpful methods to cope with their ailment, and also informs them where they can locate support services. In one study, users reported having fewer PTSD symptoms after using the app for as little as one month.

Currently, a research team from Stanford University is conducting a more in-depth study of the VA’s PTSD app. The team is asking for PTSD sufferers to volunteer for the study.

For three months, participants will be randomly split into two groups. One group will have access to the app, and the other group will not. After the study period, both groups will be allowed to use the app, and all the participants will fill out surveys from their experiences. All participants must be PTSD sufferers 18 years or older, who are not currently being treated for their PTSD symptoms. The study does not require in-person visits as part of the study. All volunteers must also have their own smart phone (iPhone or Android) and be able to download the free app.

Veterans are no strangers to duty and responsibility. This research project provides a great opportunity for Veterans and service members who suffer from PTSD to participate in an effort to improve treatments for themselves, their current brothers and sisters in arms, and future PTSD sufferers.

If you are interested in participating, please contact research coordinator Nitya Kanuri at [email protected] or call (650) 485-3465.