A new smartphone app to help serving and former Australian Defence Force members manage immediate responses to stress, and help build resilience, has been developed by the Department of Veterans' Affairs in partnership with Defence.
Director of Strategic and Operational Mental Health at Campbell Park, Colonel Nicole Sadler, said the increased popularity of online and mobile mental health tools had led to the development of tools specifically for current and former Australian Defence Force personnel.
“The 'High Res' app forms part of a suite of online and mobile resources being developed by Department of Veterans' Affairs in collaboration with Defence,” she said.
“This includes development of a resilience website due for completion later in 2015.
“Two other mobile apps, the 'PTSD Coach Australia' and 'ON TRACK with the Right Mix', are already available.”
Colonel Sadler said military service posed unique mental stresses and 'High Res' offered tools to manage stress on-the-go and helped build mental strength over time.
“This will be particularly helpful for those managing the daily stresses of service career, deployment, injury, transition to civilian life and life post-service,” she said.
“The 'High Res' app is based on Defence’s Battle SMART (Self-Management and Resilience Training) program, which adapts evidence-based cognitive behaviour therapy tools for daily stress management and resilience training.
“The app allows users to ‘test and adjust’ their responses to stressful situations and build resilience, and also allows individuals access to mental health tools at any time, including on operations.”
Colonel Sadler said there was potential within Defence to use 'High Res' across a variety of settings, based on the broad applicability of the stress management and resilience building tools.
“The app can be personalised according to whether the user is a serving, ex-serving or family member,” she said.
“The app will be promoted during the resilience and mental health training available to all Australian Defence Force members, as well as through health providers, noting that it is a self-help tool and not designed to replace professional help.
“This free app complements the comprehensive range of mental health and wellbeing services available to members and their families.”
Petty Officer Electronics Technician Zoe Mack, of the Navy People Career Management Agency, said it was good the app allowed you to personalise tools and set up your own goals.
“What I like about the 'High Res' app is the extent of its uses; it provides tools from stress management to performance training,” she said.
“One of my favourite parts of the app is the heart rate monitor, and the ability to test before conducting the exercises.
“The results are saved and you can keep track of which exercises work best for you.
“The 'High Res' app helps prepare us for whatever life throws our way; building resilience is all about helping ourselves become mentally tough and safeguarding ourselves against the difficult times.”
Petty Officer Mack’s husband, Petty Officer Combat Systems Supervisor Kim Green, Assistant to the Warrant Officer of the Navy, said he liked the fact that he could use 'High Res' for a variety of situations.
“For example, if you need help straight away, if you want to improve your resilience, or if you want to work towards achieving some goals,” he said.
'High Res' is free to download from the iOS App Store and Android Google Play.
Further information is available at www.defence.gov.au/health/healthportal/.