Health Care and Technology

App raises mental health awareness

Creators hope to form a global support community.

May 3, 2019
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Mental health help may be as close as your fingertips.

In April, Kendra McComb and Linda Anderson launched Cosmic JUJU, a mental health and wellness app. The app allows individuals who are seeking help for mental health issues to create profiles and have access to a directory that is composed of contact information of professionals such as life coaches, health coaches, physical therapists, practitioners and other specialists across the world.

The app gives mental health professionals and those seeking help the opportunity to interact virtually via Skype, Zoom and other forms of video communication. There also are videos, tips, articles and a community posting section where individuals can share comments, memes, photos and interact with others who are facing similar mental health issues.

“Everyone is on their phones, and apps are designed to be very mobile-friendly and easy to post things, easy to share, easy to engage and easy to read,” McComb said.

Anderson, who also is a life coach, said the mission is to help people from a total mental and wellness standpoint to find more joy and to know there is more to life.

“We want to help people know their possibilities and to give them permission,” Anderson said. “That is a big thing that I see with my clients, they don’t feel like they have permission to have the life that they want because that would be selfish. ‘I have to do for everyone else, I can’t do for me.’ If we don’t do for ourselves, then we really don’t have anything to give for other people and a lot of the times we deplete ourselves and then a lot of times that leads to resentment, anger and depression.”

While Americans experience some type of depression such as sadness, pessimism, isolation and sleeping problems at least once during their lifetime, Gordon Greer, a therapist who works with adolescents, adults and families in outpatient mental health and inpatient psychiatric settings at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services’ Forest Hills Clinic, said if the mood disorder persists and gets worse for more than two weeks, they are often diagnosed with clinical depression.

Greer said the clients he sees have both depression and anxiety and very rarely does he see individuals who don’t have a little bit of both. Along with those mood disorders, he said he helps individuals who are dealing with substance use problems such as alcohol and drug use, people who are cutting themselves and have suicidal thoughts, people who have impulse control problems and those with eating disorders like bulimia.

“It is very treatable if people take care of it, and that is the big thing,” he said. “People don’t always get treatment right away, and they don’t always seek help.”

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 43.8 million adults experience mental illness in a given year. About 2.4 million Americans live with schizophrenia, 6.1 million American adults live with bipolar disorder, 16 million American adults live with major depression and 42 million American adults live with anxiety disorders.

McComb said the Cosmic JUJU app offers another avenue, where those who are struggling can get the resources they need to heal their mind and body.

“We just want to be another place where people can go and feel comfortable and get some help and to know that they are not alone and they can overcome what is blocking them,” she said. “A lot of people with depression do isolate themselves, but they have their phones. So, this is a private place where they can make up whatever name they want for their profile. They don’t have to let anyone know they are on it, and they can check things out. They can post if they want and they can say ‘I am having a bad day,’ and a coach can chime in and say, ‘Hey, we are here, how can we help?’”

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