There are millions of mobile apps that we rely on to help pass the time, stay organized and keep track of our lives. However, apps designed solely for veterans and their families are a bit harder to find in the sea of options.
"There's a whole world of apps out there that the veteran community could really use," said Alex Hollings, editor in chief at Sandboxx, a military letter-writing and news app. "It's just a matter of taking these things that we've already developed in the commercial sector and adjusting the delivery to make it enticing to guys like me when I first got out."
When he medically retired from the military in 2012, Hollings dismissed mental health apps that involved meditating or positive affirmations because those ideas seemed weak. Later, a therapist pushed him to use an app called Insight Timer, and he realized that using such technologies can deliver positive results.
"I had to have it shoved down my throat by a therapist. It's effectively a meditation app for people who don't meditate or maybe aren't comfortable with the premise," he said. "But what's great about the Insight Timer versus a lot of the other mental health apps out there is that it's actually free."
In addition to Insight Timer, Hollings recommends additional apps that the military community can take advantage of to better manage their health, connect with others and even track appointments at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This list includes a few apps from the VA’s App Store , which offers dozens of other programs available for download. Those apps are indicated with an asterisk. Other apps can be found at the app store on your device. Also, check out AARP's broader list of 50 free apps that appeal to older adults.
AIMS for Anger Management: Based on the Anger and Irritability Management Skills self-help course, this app provides education about anger, opportunities to find support and ways to manage angry reactions.
Annie App: Receive automated text messages to remind you when to take medications, log your blood pressure or keep up with other health routines that you've discussed with your doctor.
ANC Explore: Locate and view images of grave sites and other points of interest throughout Arlington National Cemetery. For those visiting in person, the app also provides step-by-step instructions on how to get to specific locations throughout the cemetery’s grounds.