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New app aims to provide Tennessee youth with mental health resources

New app aims to provide Tennessee youth with mental health resources
Posted at 2:59 PM, Jul 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-25 06:54:35-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Rikki Harris knows how difficult it can be for some of her clients to seek help.

"I think everybody at some level hesitates because it means we have to be vulnerable and that vulnerability runs deep into our experiences in life that we might not want to talk about, or weaknesses that we struggle with that we're trying to overcome," said Harris, who is the CEO of TN Voices.

That's why she is excited about a new app that makes it easier for people to ask for help, especially for young people. TN Voices, a statewide mental health nonprofit, teamed up with Telemedicine Solutions to launch the MindPower app.

"We didn't make up anything new," said Harris. "We're using a research-based qualified tool to help screen for depression and just help check in with students and see how they're feeling."

In the app, students can take part in a self-screening. At the end, the app will provide resources tailored to their needs.

"Do you have little interest in doing things? [It] Asks about your appetite, how well you're sleeping," said Harris. "These are all indicators that can tell us whether a person is functioning strong or having difficulty."

In the U.S. about 13% of 12 to 17-year-olds experience depression and about 32% of 13 to 18-year-olds experience anxiety disorders.

Harris said, "I think our country is facing a crisis in terms of mental health and we have a lot of work to do as a community to sort of steward the children in our communities and make sure that they're pointed in a direction to get the help they need, but also to be told 'it's ok not to be ok and it's definitely ok to ask for help'."

Last spring the app was tested at three Tennessee schools, including Lead Cameron Middle School and KIPP Academy Nashville Middle.

Children 16 and under will need parental consent to fill out the self-screening.

To download the app, click here.