The Navy has created an interesting iPad app training program to help battle post-traumatic stress disorder and the billions of dollars in associated medical costs.

According to MedicalXPress, the Office of Naval research and the Defense Advanced Research Projects agency (DARPA) are developing the Stress Resilience Training System for sailors and Marines to help understand and manage their stress responses. It will undergo field testing next month:

Lessening the impact of PTSD to warfighters, the military and the nation is crucial. According to a February 2012 Congressional Budget Office report, 21 percent of military personnel returning from overseas contingency operations (OCO) in Afghanistan and Iraq suffer from PTSD. The cost to treat these individuals is nearly 3.5 times higher than for someone without PTSD or traumatic brain injury, which works out to close to $1 billion when multiplied by the total number of OCO patients.

“The SRTS app provides users with an easy-to-access tool that helps them build resilience toward stressful events so that when they encounter those events, the likelihood of experiencing PTSD or any other aftereffects from stress is reduced,” said Cmdr. Joseph Cohn, program officer in ONR’s Warfighter Performance Department and originator of the SRTS project.

Along with a heart rate monitor clipped to an earlobe, the app has four major sections. The app teaches which techniques, like deep breathing or muscle relaxation, will help maintain or regain coherence and manage stress responses. Those coping techniques can then be used in real-life situations.