Smartphones for Behavioral Health Care


Have you ever considered how smartphones might be used for behavioral health care?

Smartphones are mobile telephones that offer advanced computing functions. They allow users to run software applications or ‘apps’ as well as the ability to connect to the Internet. The rapid growth in the use of smartphones has opened a new world of opportunities for use in behavioral health care.

There are many smartphone apps available for behavioral health care purposes, such as symptom assessment, health education, resource location, practice exercises, and even the ability to track your own treatment progress. For example, the ‘T2 MoodTracker’ is an app that allows users to self-monitor emotional experiences associated with deployment-related behavioral health issues.

This technology is useful because it allows users to collect real time health data, monitor their own progress, and share this data with their healthcare provider.

Another exciting app is the PTSD Coach that was developed by the Veteran Affairs’s (VA) National Center for PTSD and the Department of Defense’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology (T2). When used with professional medical treatment, apps such as PTSD Coach provide a tool that can help users manage and treat symptoms as well as improve their quality of life. These apps, and others, can
be downloaded here (

As technology evolves, the capabilities of smartphones do so as well. The latest two-way communication function offered on smartphones brings new opportunities for telemental health. T2 is currently conducting research that examines how smartphones with two-way videocapability can be used to deliver telehealth services.

At this stage, T2 is asking how servicemembers think and feel about using this technology by asking them to test the technology in a non-clinical, usability lab setting. Ultimately, T2’s goal is to evaluate effectiveness of this technology and provide ways to use new technology to benefit as many service members and veterans as possible.

The advancements made in smartphones have been extremely beneficial for behavioral health purposes by making resources available 24/7 and allowing users to take an active part in their own behavioral health care. These benefits, along with the exciting advancements of mobile
technology, will continue to revolutionize how behavioral health care is conducted.

Dr. David Luxton is a Research Psychologist and Program Manager at the National Center for
Telehealth and Technology (T2).



About Julie Weckerlein

Julie Weckerlein is no stranger to the blogosphere. As a personal and professional blogger for the past 10 years, she further contributes to the internet as a web content manager for the Department of Defense. She's also an Air Force Reserve public affairs non-commissioned officer after a nine-year active duty career with assignments in Germany, Italy and the Pentagon, and a deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan as a combat correspondent for the Air Force News Service. Her affinity for science media started with her first magazine subscription to Ranger Rick at age 9 and she's never lost her excitement for the cool things happening in the world of science.
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2 Responses to Smartphones for Behavioral Health Care

  1. rentboy says:

    Interesting, never knew it!

  2. Really interesting and useful.  I am just about to enter the 21st century and get a smartphone.  (I haven’t even owned a cell phone up til now.) If anyone out there happens to know the answers, I have a couple of technical questions about cell phone privacy, as it relates to communication with clients.  1) Is there a way to give clients a number that will ring into my cell phone only when I want it to, without actually giving them my cell phone number? I heard Google offers some sort of free service with a phantom number for Android phones.  2) Is it true that you can’t send a text without revealing your phone number, the way you can do a voice call from a “blocked number”? Again, I would like to be able to communicate with clients without giving out the phone number.