Wellness, mental health app now available free for Douglas County residents
Also, app for first responders is now live
photo by: Mackenzie Clark
An app that offers abundant resources for mental and physical health and wellness is now available for free to Douglas County residents.
The Douglas County Commission approved a contract for the app, called myStrength, at its Jan. 30 meeting. It’s now online and available for free to anyone who lives within the county.
Sonia Jordan, director of informatics at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, touted the app during the Behavioral Health Prevention Summit, held Tuesday at the DoubleTree by Hilton. She encouraged mental health professionals to offer it as a resource to their clients.
Jordan said the department is calling the app “the power of prevention in the palm of your hand.”
“We wanted to reduce the stigma of being able to start to access behavioral health or mental health services without having to take that step of having to pick up the phone and get in your car,” Jordan said. “And as somebody who has been in the position of having to pick up the phone before, that’s a really hard call to make, even if you have a lot of resources and a lot of support there.”
MyStrength focuses on topics including reducing stress, controlling anxiety, mindfulness, improving sleep, parenting, managing depression, physical fitness, weight management, quitting smoking and more. It allows users to track their progress over time.
“I would encourage everyone to try this out,” Jordan said.
The app also provides resources related to various therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid recovery.
First-time users will need to send an email to myStrength@douglascountyks.org to receive an access code, or contact one of the following agencies: LMH Health, the health department, Heartland Community Health Center, Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center, Heartland RADAC, Headquarters Counseling Center, Lawrence Community Shelter, Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority or Douglas County.
The Douglas County Commission approved $19,500 to cover costs for implementation of myStrength. A grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment will cover the other $22,000 for the first year’s subscription fee.
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First responder-specific app now live
In addition, an app full of resources specific to first responders went online June 14, according to a press release from Jenn Hethcoat of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.
GuardianNET provides first responders and their significant others confidential access to resources similar to those that myStrength offers, tailored to their needs. It’s available to the Baldwin City, Eudora and Lawrence police departments, the Douglas County Emergency Communications Center and Sheriff’s Office, the University of Kansas Public Safety Office and Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, according to the release.
The Douglas County Commission approved a $50,000 annual contract for GuardianNET at its April 17 meeting, funding for which comes from the sheriff’s office’s budget.
“(First responders are) a difficult group in that they’re proud, they are strong, they are well trained and they have a difficult time asking for help,” Paul Taylor, first responder assistance coordinator for the sheriff’s office, told the commission at its April 10 meeting. “… No one wants to be seen as inadequate or weak or not trustworthy, and so to that end, sometimes we have to be very intentional and proactive in order to get them the help that they need.”
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