Building resilient 21st century sailors; There's an app for that


Building resilient 21st century sailors; There's an app for that

by: Navy Personnel Command Public Affairs | .
U.S. Navy | .
published: May 31, 2012

SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Representatives from the Navy Personnel Research Studies and Technology (NPRST) laboratory briefed attendees of the Navy Combat and Operational Stress Control conference May 24 on the findings of focus groups looking at smart phone applications being tested by the Navy.

The research directly supports the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative which is a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, designed to maximize each Sailor's and Marine's personal readiness and to hone the most combat effective force in the history of the Department of the Navy.

The two apps are Tactical Breather and Mood Tracker. The focus groups assessed Sailor views of these currently available government-sponsored stress apps. Focus groups were conducted at Naval Support Activity Mid-South, Naval Station Everett, Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Naval Base Kitsap, Naval Station Mayport, Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Submarine Base Kings Bay and included Sailors from E1-E6 and O1-O3.

Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class (AW/SW) Curt Metzger, Navy Personnel Command (NPC), Enlisted to Officer Accessions and Shore Disestablishments said he thought the Tactical Breather app would be of value to everyone.

"The Tactical Breather teaches you the correct breathing methods to control your heart rate. Focus on the task at hand, and go through it as safely and calmly as possible. I think we should all learn tactical breathing," said Metzger.

The Tactical Breather application can be used, with practice, to control physiological and psychological responses to stress.

Focus group participant Personnel Specialist 1st Class Amy Hanlon, from NPC, Officer Inter-service Transfers, said she felt that the Tactical Breather would be useful for all Sailors but that the techniques should be learned in advance.

"I would think the Tactical Breather would be useful when someone was at a high-stress moment but it would have to be something that was taught before it was needed," said Hanlon. "We would want to have this already taught and in our toolbox, ready to use when we needed it."

The Mood Tracker requires users to self-monitor emotional experiences associated with common deployment-related behavioral health issues ranging from post-traumatic stress to depression and anxiety. Participants said they believed that the Mood Tracker would be of value to counselors and psychologists.

"The Mood Tracker is a great app for counselors to track the people they are seeing. It would be great to analyze how their progression has gone, whether up, down, stayed the same over the period of a week, a month, a year," said Metzger.

Machinist's Mate 1st Class (SS) Phillip Goettsch, NPC, detailer, wrapped it up, "I thought both applications would be very useful in specific situations. They are just one more tool to have in your back pocket to use if you have a situation with a Sailor."

Both applications, made by National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2), are available on the internet via web search for Sailors to try.

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