Mobile App Helps Fight Post-deployment Blues

Cell phone

A new mobile application developed by mental health experts combines behavioral therapy with satellite navigation technology to offer returning service members options for adjusting to the slower pace of life at home.

Developed by the National Center for Telehealth and Technology at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., the "Positive Activity Jackpot," app provides service personnel with entertainment options aimed at overcoming what for some can be a difficult transition from the high tempo of deployment.

Psychologist Dr. Amanda Edwards Stewart led the development of the app, which she says is designed to prevent the kinds of difficulties service members can experience immediately after deployment.

"Service members who are used to a more-structured daily schedule may have difficulty adjusting to life at home," she said. "This can lead to difficulties with relationships, depression and other problems."

The application can be used by anyone, the psychologist said. She emphasized that it should not be considered a substitute for professional counseling.

Available for Android systems, the application contains an extensive list of programmed activities which users choose and then use their smart phone's GPS function to find the location.

The device uses "pleasant event scheduling," a common behavioral therapy used by psychologists and other mental health professionals to regulate emotions and prevent depression.

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