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Inside The Gates: App creators work with JBER to find an alternative method of tracking mental health

App creator works with JBER to find an alternative method of tracking mental health
Published: Jun. 1, 2022 at 1:49 PM AKDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2022 at 3:08 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - John Wordin has heard the same story over and over again — that when people reach out for mental health support, they often can’t get an appointment anytime soon.

“When I hear the reports from different groups about, you know, our wait times to see a clinician is 30 days, three months, six months,” LifeScore CEO John Wordin said. “You know, they are not getting the help they need when they need it.”

Now, Wordin is on a mission to find an alternative method of providing mental health services quicker to those in need. Wordin created the app LifeScore to help soldiers have an alternative method for mental health services right at their fingertips. The app tracks and monitors the six aspects of someone’s health. These include sleep, nutrition, fitness, food, spirituality and state of mind.

“You can track it by yourself or you can import data from other apps or tools or wearables,” Wordin said.

Wordin said that the app works like a check engine light. It allows users to have a better understanding of their mental and physical health and determine when action needs to be taken.

“Instead of being reactive, be proactive — self-care, you know, drive your own health using technology for early detection and warning,” Wordin said. “That can then deliver digital recommendations and resources in real-time.”

The user can then choose to share the information with select people. In a military group, Wordin said, that means a commander can track the status of their team. This allows them to see if there is a trend in their team’s mental health and what areas need attention.

For the past year and a half, Wordin has worked with a team of active-duty Coast Guard members and their families. According to LifeScore, they have seen promising results. The app has reported that 81% of users say that “LifeScore accurately represents their health” and also 81% said that LifeScore “will help better understand my health.”

It has also allowed Wordin to start seeing a trend in the app’s results.

“What things are they struggling with, are there any things in common? Looking at an anonymized chart that shows here’s what drives high scores, here’s what’s driving low scores in a particular group,” Wordin said.

Wordin said the next step is to introduce the app and his research into Alaska.

“We are excited about the preliminary results,” Wordin said. “Why not go to an area that has probably the greatest need in our country, in Alaska, and show what this tool can do.”

In July, Wordin plans to release a demo to a select group of individuals in the Coast Guard, Air Force, and Army at JBER, in addition to their families and caregivers.

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