Mobile app aims to deliver inexpensive mental health services

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JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Coalition Community for Behavioral Healthcare partnered with myStrength app. The organization plans on using the grant-funded app as a supplement to traditional doctor visits.

Brent McGinty is the president of the coalition.

“And this becomes a part of that array of treatments. So, at 3 a.m. when they get up and can’t sleep and feel really down, this can be there for them immediately till they call their therapist the next day in the morning.”

The app will allow individuals to develop a customized experience based on what they need. Patients will be able to talk to therapists 24 hours a day and use interactive treatment activities.

Governor Nixon proposed to improve health and safety in Missouri communities by expanding Missouri’s Strengthening Mental Health Initiative.

The current budget for the Department of Mental Health (DMH) is $1.8 billion. Nixon’s recommended funding for mental health services is a $40 million increase for the 2017 fiscal budget.

The Department of Mental Health reported mental health issues affected 75,906 people in 2014.

Director of DMH Public and Legislative Affairs Debra Walker said in her 8 years in the department, the awareness and push for mental health service has grown.

“There’s always room for improvement, and the Department of Mental Health is really quite a leader in looking for new and innovative ways to improve services and treatment to the individuals we serve.”

The Missouri Foundation for Health granted enough money to cover the first-year cost of the app to clients.

McGinty said, “How do we use that technology then to extend our care in new ways to that generation? And so we knew that this was an area of technology that we need to embrace and engage.”

The myStrength app will start its trial run in June.

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