Five VA apps that help veterans and their families manage stress

By Treva Lutes

Did you know that unmanaged stress can affect your overall well-being? Over time, unchecked stress levels can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, substance use and more. This is why VA incorporates stress management tools into so many of our programs and resources, including our mobile apps.

During April’s Stress Awareness Month, check out these free VA apps that feature stress management tools to support your self-care.

Mindfulness Coach


The Mindfulness Coach app teaches you how to build a simple mindfulness practice. Mindfulness means noticing and paying attention to what is going on in the present moment, without passing judgment on it. Mindfulness has been shown to be effective for reducing stress, improving emotional balance, helping with anxiety and depression, and coping more effectively with chronic pain.

The Mindfulness Coach app provides a self-guided training program that features 12 audio-guided mindfulness exercises and a catalog of additional exercises that are free to download.


PTSD Coach and PTSD Family Coach


PTSD Coach was originally launched in 2011 to help Veterans manage acute stress wherever and whenever it arises. Today, the app is very popular with Veterans, and its recent updates include many new tools and resources to help manage PTSD symptoms. You can use PTSD Coach to take a PTSD self-assessment, track symptoms, and learn relaxation skills.

It offers tools to manage the stress of daily life, including guided relaxation exercises, soothing sounds and images, relationship tips and more.



COVID Coach app iconThe COVID Coach app was developed at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic to help anyone improve their overall mental health during difficult times. It’s one of VA’s most comprehensive self-care mobile apps and is an excellent resource to have in your pocket for any situation causing you concern.

The app features an entire Manage Stress section that compiles all of VA’s best stress management tools—from deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation exercises to strategies for strengthening relationships and improving sleep.


VetChange app iconVetChange

 The VetChange app is designed to help anyone who is concerned about their    drinking and would like to cut down or quit. You will gain insight into how your drinking relates to different moods and situations, learn about alcohol use and posttraumatic stress, and track your progress.

VetChange features a Tools menu with more than a dozen categories of interactive tools and strategies for managing stress and urges related to drinking.


Annie app iconAnnie is a VA automated text messaging service that empowers Veterans to take an active role in their care. Messages you receive from Annie can include medication reminders, tips for reducing stress and more. The Stress Management message subscription sends weekly motivational texts to help you be more mindful, learn relaxation techniques and better manage stress.

Registration is required to begin Annie messages. Find instructions on the VA App Store and then subscribe by texting SUB STRESS to Annie (75338).

VA’s apps are not intended to replace therapy, prevent suicide or for crisis intervention services. Talk with your VA care team if you believe stress is harming your health.

If you need immediate attention, the Veterans Crisis Line offers 24/7 confidential support (dial 988, then press 1).

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