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New app offers mental health help for Michiana residents

GOSHEN, Ind. – A Fitbit is used to track activity level, a calorie counter to watch weight, and now, an app can be used monitor mental health.

Oaklawn is offering a new app to its clients and the community that offers self-care resources to those who need it.

MyStrength lets users track how they feel each day, work on skills their doctor wants them to practice outside of appointments, like relaxation techniques, and learn more about topics like depression and anxiety using the search feature.  

“We just thought it was a great opportunity,” said Executive Director of the Oaklawn Foundation Kari Tarman.

Tarman says more than 400 people have downloaded the app since it opened up to the Michiana community a few weeks ago. Oaklawn hopes to increase that number to 800 by the end of the year and the thousands within the next few years.

“We’re all on our phones for everything, so this really gives you the opportunity to take your wellness outside your doctor’s office and use it in your daily life,” said Tarman. “We thought it would be really exciting.”

The app is free to anyone in the community thanks to a partnership between Oaklawn and Goshen Health.

Oaklawn clients will receive a code from their doctor. Community members must enter the code “OAKLAWNCOMMUNITY” when signing up.

“We all have mental health,” said Tarman. “We all have some level of anxiety and we all have those days where we feel off or have feelings of depression. It’s always tricky for people to decide, ‘When do I ask for help?’ and this app is really, one, going to help you decide to do that because you can do it over a long period of time, and it’ll just make you healthier.”

Tarman says Oaklawn first heard about MyStrength through a community mental health facility in Colorado. After learning about the app’s impact there, Oaklawn knew they needed to bring it to Michiana.

“They saw increased engagement so less no shows, people actually showing up for their appointments,” said Tarman. “They saw people getting better faster, or managing their illnesses better. It also gives us insight into what people are experiencing so it helps your doctor prescribe medications better.”

Tarman believes the resource could change the way Michiana views mental health.

“We’re going to be a healthier community and hopefully see substance use numbers go down, anxiety and depression be more manageable,” said Tarman. “I think it also really helps bring mental health and substance use issues onto the same level and priority of physical health.”

MyStrength is available for download on Android and Apple products. Users can also sign up at mystrength.com.

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