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FYI+ takes first step toward creating behavioral health app


To help fill a local behavioral health need, Families & Youth Innovations Plus (FYI+) Training & Technical Assistance Division hosted a brainstorming session for stakeholders Jan. 17 in Las Cruces to create a mobile app.  

Representing 12 agencies, 35 participants were divided into seven groups for the competition, FYI+ said. They included mental health providers, people with lived experience, faith leaders and members of the business community.

The challenge was “to create an app that could be used by everyone who is in need of behavioral health services, in collaboration with Apple, Inc., local community partners and the LC3 Behavioral Health Collaborative, the strategic hub for behavioral health in Doña Ana County,” FYI+ said.

The winning design was named "Doña Ana Assistance," FYI+ said. The group that designed it was comprised of “promotoras” (community health care workers) who primarily spoke Spanish, public health and mental health providers and a person with lived experience, FYI+ said. The slogan for their app was "No crisis too big or too small."

The app idea is designed for all ages, is multilingual and would respond “to anyone who is in a mental health crisis by offering different options,” including speaking with or texting a therapist or counselor.

It would also offer different coping skills to immediately assist a person in crisis, such as breathing techniques, mindful meditation and de-escalation techniques, FYI+ said, along with navigation to local mental and behavioral health resources. And, it would allow the user to connect to the 988 crisis hotline and the Doña Ana County Crisis Triage Center.

With the app design workshop completed, the next step is three more workshops facilitated by Apple which will take the concepts of the larger group and fine tune them and come out with a finalized app design based on the data and input gathered from the meeting we hosted,” said FYI+ community organizer Logan Howard.

NMSU’s Arrowhead Center might take the lead in the app’s actual development, said Logan Howard, LC3 Collaborative Community Organizer, “based on the final product coming out of the Apple sessions.”