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Douglas County offering new online resource for wellness, mental health

Douglas County and 8 community agencies now offer residents a new online resource for wellness and mental health. Livongo for Behavioral Health by myStrength, an innovative leader in digital behavioral health care, provides digital self-care resources 24/7, including treatment-inspired exercises, mindfulness meditations and self-care activities.

myStrength’s online tools promote emotional wellness, assist new and expectant parents, and help manage depression, anxiety, stress, substance use disorders, chronic pain and insomnia. The platform empowers individuals with personalized pathways incorporating multiple programs to help manage and overcome comorbid challenges.

Livongo for Behavioral Health by myStrength is confidential and personalized to each user and allows individuals to set goals and track their changes over time. The platform can be accessed from any computer or mobile device and is for individuals ages 13 and older.

“We are so excited to offer free and unlimited access to myStrength for Douglas County residents,” said Bob Tryanski, Director of Behavioral Health Projects for Douglas County. “MyStrength supports the whole person; mind, body and spirit. It builds healthy habits for sustained mental health and overall well-being. Most of all it offers friends, family, and community members the freedom to pursue personal wellness in a self-directed way.”

DCCCA, a Lawrence-based agency that provides social and community services statewide and in parts of Oklahoma, began offering myStrength to clients, staff, foster parents and community members in 2014. Between November 2014 and April 2019, 3,241 individuals signed up to use myStrength. As of March 2019, 71% of users reported clinical depression improvement and 48% reported clinical anxiety improvement.

The myStrength platform evidences significant improvement in clinical outcomes that are comparable to standard care of treatment. These include 70% of clinical improvement happening within the first 14 days of engagement and 74% of individuals experiencing improvement in depression scores.

The Douglas County Behavioral Health Leadership Coalition identified myStrength as an evidence-based prevention strategy that they wanted to offer in Douglas County, especially after hearing about DCCCA’s success.

Favorable outcomes at DCCCA can be attributed to three factors:

  • DCCCA’s leadership support of myStrength and full adoption into the clinical program strategy,

  • staff usage as an integral component of their treatment flows,

  • myStrength’s highly-personalized experience allows clients to engage in activities most relevant to their immediate needs at any time of day.

Douglas County and eight agencies are now following DCCCA’s lead. The following agencies now offer myStrength to their clients, staff and communities: LMH HealthLawrence-Douglas County Health DepartmentHeartland Community Health CenterBert Nash Community Mental Health CenterHeartland Regional Alcohol & Drug Assessment CenterHeadquarters Counseling Center, Lawrence Community ShelterLawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority and Douglas County.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department received a Data-Driven Prevention Initiative grant from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to help promote myStrength in the community.

Sonia Jordan, Director of Informatics at the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department, said due to stigma surrounding behavioral health issues, people can often be afraid to seek initial health.

“The availability of something like myStrength and the ability for people to download it to use on their phones means they don’t have to worry about that — at least for that initial step of trying to manage some of their mental health needs,” Jordan said. “They don’t have to get in their car and drive somewhere. They don’t have to have their car parked in front of a mental health center. They can start to access this treatment from their phone in private.”

Douglas County is providing myStrength free to Douglas County residents this year through a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved in November 2018 to improve behavior health services and facilities in Douglas County.

To sign up for myStrength, email myStrength@douglascountyks.org or contact one of the eight Douglas County community agencies.

Mary Shultz