New VA app designed to help MST survivors

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The Department of Veterans Affairs recently launched a free mobile app to help veterans heal from the effects of military sexual trauma (MST).

The VA’s National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder developed the Beyond MST app to offer information, tools and a personalized plan for helping MST survivors heal.

Dr. Amy Street, deputy director of the center’s Women’s Health Sciences Division, said the app is not a replacement for professional care but serves as a private, additional resource veterans can access.

“We hope it is a way for survivors to get information to build skills to address their health concerns and maybe, most importantly, to decrease that sense of isolation and hopelessness that we have heard from so many survivors,” Street said. “We have worked very hard to make sure that this would be a hopeful and inspiring self-help resource.”

The app features resources and activities that educate users on several skills, including how to manage stress, improve communications in relationships and create a self-care plan for holistic well-being.

App developers, informed by medical experts and MST survivors, designed the tool for people of all backgrounds and gender identities and in all stages of recovery. It is fully accessible to people with disabilities.

Street said the app doesn’t collect personally identifiable information and doesn’t share or transmit personal information without user permission. Beyond MST is one offering in a library of VA-developed apps designed to be treatment companions and self-help resources for veterans.

For more information about Beyond MST and other VA health apps, visit https://ptsd.va.gov/PTSD/appvid/mobile/.