Using Technology to Aid Those Struggling With PTSD

Team: 14

School: Santa Teresa High

Area of Science: Behavioral and Social Sciences

Interim: The projects’ primary focus is to build a support system for those who undergo PTSD on their own. According to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, 71% to 96% of individuals struggling with PTSD experience frequent nightmares. Our project is about helping those who undergo PTSD in an effort to increase their quality of life. This will be done by developing a computer program using a smart device that uses sound in an attempt to regulate levels of cortisol, the main stress hormone present in a PTSD episode. If the individual were having PTSD from a nightmare, this device would attempt to gently awaken the individual using a sound of their choice, which can range from a voice recording from a loved one to a relaxing song/tone. Subsequently to this, the device would alert an emergency contact or a PTSD hotline that may be able to help the individual during their PTSD episode. The computer program will also provide the user with resources including music, apps, or activities that may further enhance their experience and ameliorate their symptoms/nightmares and the likelihood of having any more. At this point, our team has been heavily focused on conducting research and receiving feedback and input from professionals who have expertise in both the medical and computer science fields. We have reached out to Kristin Jue, a registered nurse with a computer science background currently working as a Microsoft TEALS member for the computer science program at our school. Through her expertise in both fields that our project revolves around as well as sources we have obtained from online websites that focus on discussing and identifying the problems that individuals with PTSD suffer with, we are able to receive more access to reliable information that may help us solve our problem. In a project that revolves around health, we find it especially important to do extensive research to ensure our project is carefully and efficiently planned in order to provide the user with the best possible treatment. Ultimately, while PTSD may still be a problem that affects individuals around the globe, we expect to give them a better sense of tranquility that would improve their life. The outcome which we expect to accomplish with our project is to be able to help people who suffer from PTSD find a coping mechanism that would help them when it’s about to be triggered or during the attack. Through our software, our project is to be able to soothe an individual and keep them calm in order to ensure that their PTSD does not harm their social life, or cause problems in a working environment.

Elzinga, Bernet M, et al. “Higher Cortisol Levels Following Exposure to Traumatic Reminders in Abuse-Related PTSD.” Nature News, Nature Publishing Group, 16 May 2003,

Miller, Robert, et al. The CIRCORT Database: Reference Ranges and Seasonal Changes in Diurnal Salivary Cortisol Derived from a Meta-Dataset Comprised of 15 Field Studies. Nov. 2016,

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2017,

“Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation.” Stress Management: Breathing Exercises for Relaxation | Michigan Medicine,

“ Veterans Affairs.” Nightmares and PTSD, 9 Apr. 2010,

Mentor: Kristen Jue

Team Members:

  Paloma Del Valle
  Ethan Garcia
  Josue De La O
  Joshua Cervantes
  Jordan Tellez
  Anahi Prieto

Sponsoring Teacher: Saul Nunez

Mail the entire Team