Online behavioral health care site available free to county residents pending referendum outcome
Douglas County residents dealing with tough issues or just feeling down can test drive a feature that will become part of a behavioral health services package if county voters approve the upcoming referendum on the jail expansion and behavioral health campus.
Bob Tryanski, county coordinator of behavioral health projects, said the Denver-based myStrength Inc. has agreed to make its interactive behavioral health care site available for free to county residents until the referendum’s mail-in ballots are counted May 15. Douglas County residents can visit myStrength.com to register for the computer or smartphone app with the access code of Douglasguest33.
“It’s a tool to allow you to keep on track and accountable, whatever you are trying to achieve,” Tryanski said. “There is video and modulars to help everybody improve wellness and approach to well-being. There’s meditation techniques and practical tools to manage sleep.”
Tryanski said he learned of the site through DCCCA, which encourages its drug-abuse therapy clients to use the myStrength site. It has a journal tool that allows users to keep track of good days and bad days as they deal with such issues as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, stress and sleep deprivation. It also directs users based on submitted information to videos and learning modules that are designed to address their identified issues.
Sandra Dixon, DCCCA director of Behavioral Health Services, said DCCCA started using myStrength four years ago and now encourages all clients who have completed treatment to use the myStrength smartphone app. DCCCA counselors said they have found that clients benefit from the app by tracking their progress, finding daily coping tips and joining anonymous chat rooms of those dealing with similar issues.
DCCCA has also made MyStrength available to all its employees to help with day-to-day life issues from weight loss to family problems, Dixon said.
The county will pick up the cost for residents’ continued access to myStrength if the sales tax referendum passes, Tryanski said. He did not have a precise estimate on how much it would cost the county to offer the program, but Tryanski said the cost would be less than $30,000 a year.
If voters approve the referendum’s half-cent sales tax, the tax will generate an estimated $9.8 million annually to fund construction of the $44 million jail expansion and an $11 million behavioral health campus. It will also provide $5.1 million a year for new behavioral health programming and $1 million of the $6.1 million needed per year to operate an expanded jail.