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Posted on: January 31, 2019

Partnership to provide free health app to Douglas County residents

Phone app-myStrength

LAWRENCE — Douglas County, in partnership with the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and Kansas Department of Health and Environment, will provide for free the MyStrength app to Douglas County residents.

MyStrength offers individuals support for managing depression, anxiety, stress, sleep and other health issues. It also allows users to track factors like their moods, to set health goals and to track changes over time.

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 begin seeking help.

“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 can start to access this treatment from their phone in private.”

The app is available through funding provided by Douglas County, the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Douglas County is providing $19,500 this year for MyStrength through a quarter-cent sales tax voters approved in November to improve behavioral health services and facilities in the county.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment in November awarded the Health Department a $20,000 Data-Driven Prevention Initiative grant to contribute to the MyStrength project, which will allow that amount of Proposition 1 funds to be spent on other behavioral health initiatives.

The Douglas County Behavioral Health Leadership Coalition identified offering MyStrength to all Douglas County residents as a strategy to empower individuals to address depression, anxiety, stress, substance use, chronic pain and sleep challenges in a self-directed way, while also supporting the physical and spiritual aspects of whole person health.

The MyStrength app will be one piece of helping Douglas County residents who struggle with behavioral health issues.

According to the Health Department’s Informatics Department:

  • Among Douglas County residents, 23.2% have been diagnosed with a depressive disorder at some point in their lives.
  • 8.6% reported their mental health was "not good" for 14 or more days in the previous 30 days.
  • And, 24.4% adults reported they were binge drinkers, which is above the state average of 15.6%.

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