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Online behavioral health care site available free to county residents pending referendum outcome

This screenshot from March 6, 2018, shows MyStrength.com, a interactive behavioral health care site that may be available to Douglas County residents if funding is approved by voters.

Douglas County residents dealing with tough issues or just feeling down can test drive a feature that will become part of a behavioral health services package if county voters approve the upcoming referendum on the jail expansion and behavioral health campus.

Bob Tryanski, county coordinator of behavioral health projects, said the Denver-based myStrength Inc. has agreed to make its interactive behavioral health care site available for free to county residents until the referendum’s mail-in ballots are counted May 15. Douglas County residents can visit myStrength.com to register for the computer or smartphone app with the access code of Douglasguest33.

“It’s a tool to allow you to keep on track and accountable, whatever you are trying to achieve,” Tryanski said. “There is video and modulars to help everybody improve wellness and approach to well-being. There’s meditation techniques and practical tools to manage sleep.”

Tryanski said he learned of the site through DCCCA, which encourages its drug-abuse therapy clients to use the myStrength site. It has a journal tool that allows users to keep track of good days and bad days as they deal with such issues as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, stress and sleep deprivation. It also directs users based on submitted information to videos and learning modules that are designed to address their identified issues.

Sandra Dixon, DCCCA director of Behavioral Health Services, said DCCCA started using myStrength four years ago and now encourages all clients who have completed treatment to use the myStrength smartphone app. DCCCA counselors said they have found that clients benefit from the app by tracking their progress, finding daily coping tips and joining anonymous chat rooms of those dealing with similar issues.

DCCCA has also made MyStrength available to all its employees to help with day-to-day life issues from weight loss to family problems, Dixon said.

The county will pick up the cost for residents' continued access to myStrength if the sales tax referendum passes, Tryanski said. He did not have a precise estimate on how much it would cost the county to offer the program, but Tryanski said the cost would be less than $30,000 a year.

If voters approve the referendum's half-cent sales tax, the tax will generate an estimated $9.8 million annually to fund construction of the $44 million jail expansion and an $11 million behavioral health campus. It will also provide $5.1 million a year for new behavioral health programming and $1 million of the $6.1 million needed per year to operate an expanded jail.

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More coverage: Douglas County votes on jail expansion, behavioral health campus

• March 12, 2018 — County’s pretrial release, home-arrest programs diverting large numbers from jail, but not enough to prevent overcrowding

• March 11 — DA was more likely to grant a diversion in 2017, but number of people seeking them declined

• March 6 — Douglas County Sheriff’s Office offering jail tours, presentations in advance of spring referendum

• March 5 — Online behavioral health care site available free to county residents pending referendum outcome

• March 4 — Felonies, not pot smoking, filling up the Douglas County Jail, new report says

• March 3 — Activist groups kick off their campaign against jail expansion

• March 1 — Town Talk: Here comes the opposition: Four groups join forces to campaign against Douglas County jail expansion

• Feb. 21 — Douglas County will face tough choices on jail expansion if tax referendum fails, official says

• Feb. 20 — Building jail expansion in phases would take 16 years, $6M to $8M a year, county says

• Feb. 19 — Town Talk: Fact checking county commissioners on assertion that big budget cuts will come if voters reject jail/mental health sales tax

• Feb. 17 — Activist leaders blast proposed expansion of Douglas County Jail

• Feb. 12 — As voters consider $44M expansion, report finds some changes could reduce overcrowding at Douglas County Jail

• Feb. 7 — Douglas County Commission to schedule forums on jail and mental health referendum, provide information on what happens if voters reject

• Feb. 4 — Johnson County built a larger jail and now has 300 unused beds; Douglas County can't use them

• Jan. 30 — State law won't allow Douglas County commissioners to campaign for passage of jail, mental health sales tax

• Jan. 24 — Douglas County Commission approves language for ballot question on jail expansion, behavioral health campus

• Jan. 22 — Following the money: Douglas County partners beefing up behavioral health services with funding

• Jan. 17 — Douglas County Commission agrees to put jail expansion, behavioral health campus on same ballot question

• Jan. 16 — Town Talk: Many residents want to vote separately on jail, mental health projects; there's a way, but county unlikely to go there

• Jan. 16 — Douglas County commissioners ready to ask voters to approve jail expansion, behavioral health initiatives

• Jan. 15 — 2014 speedy trial redefinition clogging Douglas County jail, district court

• Jan. 10 — Price tag of behavioral health campus, services estimated at $5.76 million annually

• Jan. 8 — No insurance and hooked on drugs? Chances are, you won't find treatment in Douglas County

• Jan. 5 — Town Talk: A look at how high Lawrence's sales tax rate would be if voters approve increase for jail, mental health

• Jan. 3, 2018 — Due to misunderstanding, county now says jail expansion, mental health projects must be on same sales tax ballot

• Dec. 31, 2017 — Undersheriff says 2016 annual report shows overcrowding threatening jail safety, re-entry programming

• Dec. 18 — Behavioral health campus plan grew from recognition of housing's role in crisis recovery

• Dec. 13 — Services that will be part of behavioral health campus to be introduced next month at LMH

• Dec. 13 — Douglas County commissioners confident of voter buy-in on jail expansion plan

• Nov. 30 — Douglas County commission agrees to move ahead with $44 million jail expansion design

• Nov. 26 — Sheriff's Office exploring modular units as stopgap solution to Douglas County Jail overcrowding

• Nov. 8 — Douglas County Sheriff's Office recommends jail redesign that would more than double number of beds

• Oct. 4 — Jail expansion, crisis center would require public vote on new taxes, officials say

• Sept. 20 — Estimated cost to expand Douglas County Jail jumps by millions of dollars

• July 26 — Douglas County Commission to forward report on future jail population to architects

• July 16 — Double bunking not considered solution for Douglas County Jail overcrowding

• June 26 — Jail, mental health initiatives help drive proposed tax increase in 2018 county budget

• May 14 — Douglas County data showing swelling jail population despite fewer arrests

• April 5, 2017 — Sheriff urges Douglas County Commission to make jail expansion a priority


Ryan Hickman

So, if residents agree to spend $165-200 million over the next 20 years, Bob will throw in a helpful app that costs $30k per year. I'd rather purchase the app on my phone. No thanks. Vote NO on the jail expansion. We can address mental health in a more effective and cost efficient manner and do likewise with the jail by implementing alternatives and demanding reduced case processing times.

2 weeks ago


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