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High Plains offers new Web service

7/25/2014

By KALEY CONNER

By KALEY CONNER

kconner@dailynews.net

It's being described as a health club for the mind.

High Plains Mental Health Center soon will offer northwest Kansas a new, Web-based resource tool geared toward improving mental and physical health.

High Plains, a community mental health center serving 20 counties, recently contracted with Colorado-based myStrength Inc. to provide the virtual self-help service.

"We see it as a way here in a rural area to reach out to the community," said Walt Hill, executive director of High Plains. "With fewer resources, this is a way we can try to add value to the community.

"We always try to give back to the community more and more, and this is a resource we've picked to do that."

The service, which is expected to go live in mid-September, will be free. It will be available to patients and non-patients alike in northwest and north-central Kansas.

Those interested can contact High Plains for a user name, then set up their individualized accounts, choosing the resources they find helpful. All user information will be secure and confidential, Hill said.

Offerings will include digital copies of books, informational videos, exercise suggestions and a networking forum. The information comes from professional sources and is peer-reviewed, Hill said. It also will offer calendar reminders and be available on a mobile app.

The service will not be a replacement for crisis management; those with a mental health emergency still should contact High Plains directly.

Information is available to address mental, physical and spiritual well-being. It is hoped the service will be useful for people in many different situations, Hill said.

Patients battling illnesses such as depression or anxiety can find a variety of resources to help them manage between counseling appointments. There also will be resources for overcoming drug addictions.

Even community members who are not going to High Plains might find the resources beneficial to help improve their health or get through a rough time, he said.

"Our idea down the road is not everyone needs to come to get help. We want them to when they need it," Hill said. "But there are resources we think we can provide to the community to help them live better lives without them having to come to us."

High Plains is the first mental health center in Kansas to offer this service, which has a network of approximately 8,000 clinicians nationwide, according to a press release from the company.