TACOMA, Wash. — A question like "how do you feel?" can sound a little touchy-feely to a battle-hardened soldier.
But ask the same question on a smart phone application that a soldier can stash in his fatigues? That just might get a straight answer.
Enter the T2 Mood Tracker, a free smart phone application the Defense Department released last week to help service members and veterans monitor their emotions with a few strokes on a touchpad.
The application was developed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in a tight cluster of portable offices that contain the National Center for Telehealth & Technology (T2). The three-year-old program aims to boost military mental health services by infusing them with new technology.
Inside, psychologists and engineers collaborate on virtual-reality programs and enhanced communication devices. Smart-phone apps take up a lot of their time, including one that would help soldiers practice breathing exercises.
Another would let someone create a personal "hope box" with uplifting images or sounds to call on in moments of depression.
And for soldiers on combat deployments, engineers at the local center are working on an app to use after traumatic events. It would ask a few questions and deliver responses to a counselor who could determine whether the soldier should see a therapist.
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