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12/12/2017

MENTAL HEALTH APPLICATIONS: SELF-SUPPORT AND TRAINING OF MILITARY STAFF

One of the main directions of psychological support of military staff is development of short- and long-term research and training program for prevention post-traumatic stress disorder (hereinafter – PTSD). These focus groups need not only traditional educational practice during manoeuvres and in real units but also they need special psychological trainings and developing specific skills: universal and local.

There are universal and key skills for military staff how directly involves in battle field process. The Universal skill is Professional Observation as an ability to notice essentially important things and phenomena. Term “Key skills” in our case means double oriented skills which can be used from one side as work tool and from other side like technique of stress relief. Indeed without stress management these kinds of military works are fatally dangerous. Traditionally, psychologists used psychological training which showed good results. But there are also some problem issues in case of additional traditional training: organization (free time of coach and soldiers/officers/cadets), motivation (to take part and openly work in group) and monitoring (of state during home exercise). Generally these skills require systematic exercises, minimum once a week and some daily home work during 5 -12 session of training.

Brief analyze included Self Guided books, Biofeet back systems, on-line and SD programs, Virtual reality and mobile applications.

Mobile approach to training can give new opportunities as are autonomy, absent or minimal technical barrier, high level of involving motivation. Just-in-Time Adaptive Interventions and Mental Health applications can be used as a platform for measuring and mental interventions. Furthermore, thanks to interest in new “gadgets” and gamification aspects of mHealth apps this usage can potentially increase users’ motivation.

The active introduction of MHapps, as an adjunct to the treatment of PTSD, is positioned by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, under the auspices of which applications of this type are developed and tested.

Previous studies of satisfaction with the treatment of PTSD Coach showed that 89% of veteran users are satisfied with its effectiveness in managing stress, overcoming sleep problems and information psychological therapy for establishing communication with loved ones.

Key skill includes stress management like obligatory component. As Android is the most frequently used mobile phone operating system of our military staff and cadets our review only included apps, which were available through Google Play in May 2017. Apps were identified using the search terms “stress”, “stress management,” “stress reduction,” and “stress relief” in English, Russian and Ukrainian languages . The first 50 apps of each language were installed and classified. It has identified 7 groups: art, gaming, meditative, audio-visual stimulation, combined, biofeedback, hypnosis.

Only half of the samples included evidence-based content, as well as acceptable usability and functionality. And instruction wasn’t available in Ukrainian or Russian.

For psychological preparation and support of staff of dangerous professions and civil people Antistress application was developed. Stress relief is common tool for all Key skills which for improving. Antistress application is a complex mobile application for reducing stress in any conditions, especially at extreme work.

Antistress Application provides a wide range of psychological tools and techniques for stress relief, graphical analysis of stress level assessment and stress-stimulation for increasing stress resistance. It includes three components based on Cognitive behavioral therapy:

– cognitive component for training logic and ability to analyze the situation, plan compilation for stress controlling;

– instrumental component is includes set of Key skills for assimilation and training of useful skills that help reduce stress, increase resistance to stress and act effectively in emergency situations;

– physical component for  increasing strength and endurance, development of body stress control.

It is coherent training which consists of step by step learning and after possibility to chose and train directly a Key skill which is most in need of improvement.

Antistress Application helps to track and monitor mental state for prediction of the responses to various stressors and better cope with problems, such as stress, depression and general anxiety. Useful Statistics graphs show a progress after level passing and stress stimulation. It is helpful for tool choosing which is suitable for each user.

Advantages Antistress Application:

– scientific validity of the methods and techniques used to reduce stress based on cognitive-behavioral, gestalt and body-oriented therapy;

– convenient navigation and ability to repeat individual exercises and stress management techniques that have shown the greatest effectiveness for a user;

– unique combination of stress therapy and stress-resistance training that helps reduce daily stress and psychologically prepare yourself.

Сonclusions:

  1. The conception of universal and key skills for military staff was developed. The Professional Observation is considered as universal skill. It is seen as an ability to notice essentially important things and phenomena.
  2. The main psychotherapeutic approaches used in the framework of psychological health applications are identified: art, gaming, meditative, combined (based on cognitive-behavioural therapy), audio-visual stimulation, biological feedback, hypnosis.
  3. The composition of the mobile application protocol for preparation and support of staff of dangerous professions and civil people was developed and included three components: cognitive, instrumental and physical.

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