One billion people worldwide (12.9% of the population) suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives, according to the WHO’s global mental health survey. The leading causes are intimate partner or sexual violence (28%) and unexpected death of a loved one (22%). Symptoms last, on average, six years, but for many they persist for decades. While median recovery time is 6 years, many never recover. Around a third of physical, intimate partner and sexual violence victims still endure PTSD symptoms 20 years after the trauma.
Only a quarter of PTSD sufferers get therapy
Post-traumatic stress causes debilitating symptoms like flashbacks, nightmares and panic attacks, which can shatter sufferers’ careers, family lives and physical health. Still, barriers to treatment, including cost and social stigma are so overwhelming that only a quarter of sufferers receive therapy. A dramatic shortage of trained therapists has led to wait lists of months or years at rape-crisis centers, refugee services and veterans clinics around the world.
A radically affordable digital solution
Detrauma is a radically affordable writing self-help tool, whose vision is to put relief into the hands of 1 billion survivors of trauma. Detrauma is based on Written Exposure Therapy, developed and clinically validated by researchers at the National Center for PTSD. It was designed to overcome the obstacles that prevent people from receiving effective help with trauma. Users write about their trauma in five, 30-minute guided writing exercises, which are clinically proven to dramatically relieve symptoms of PTSD. Because the program is based on writing, rather than talking, it can easily be delivered via mobile phone, privately, at home.
No fancy phone or internet required
To make trauma relief available to one billion survivors, we designed Detrauma to be used in lower resource environments. Detrauma is a light mobile app, which even works on older Android phones with limited memory or functionality. It even works with shared mobile phones, as the writing exercises are done on paper, not on the device.