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New app helps Sask. farmers manage mental health

New app helps Sask. farmers manage mental health

Avail takes multiple factors into account before providing users with a personal score

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

A new mobile tool is available to help Saskatchewan farmers understand their levels and sources of stress.

Bridges Health, a mental health service organization based in Saskatoon, received $10,000 from Innovation Saskatchewan to develop a mobile app called Avail.

The app analyzes multiple areas of wellness data, said Kyle Anderson, business development consultant with Bridges Health.

“Avail helps individuals in 10 different areas,” he told Farms.com. “It touches on things like stress and anxiety, relationships, healthy eating and physical activity.”

When a user opens the app, they’ll be required to complete a self-assessment and Avail will measure how the individual is doing in each of the 10 specific areas. The app will also periodically ask for follow-up assessments to track any changes.

Once the self-assessment is finished, the app will provide a detailed report based on the information entered.

“You’ll get an overall well-being score that identifies how you’re doing and if you’ve got room to improve,” he said. “You’ll also get a score in each of the individual areas. A lot of the time, people know they’re struggling but may not know exactly where the stress is coming from.”

Once an individual receives his or her score, they will have access to a library of articles, videos and online tips to help address stress management.

In addition, the individual can use the app to communicate with local health care professionals, Anderson said.

“Let’s say I’m in Saskatoon and I’m willing to travel 20 kilometres, the app will show me all of the professionals within that area,” he said. “I can click on one (provider), read a bio, and if I think that person can help me, I can give them a call and connect right through the app.”

Users also can build their own personal support network with others who download the app.

Avail will alert people within those networks if the app notices any significant changes during self-assessments.

“If my score decreases, someone in my network would receive a notification,” Anderson said. “They might see that and think it’s a good time to check in to see how I’m doing. It can be uncomfortable sometimes to ask for help, so these notifications allow for that to happen.”

The app is available to farmers in Saskatchewan, but expanding nationally is a future goal, Anderson said.

Avail can be downloaded from Google Play and the Apple Store.

Check out the Farms.com apps page for other farming and ag-related apps. 

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