Mental health has become a priority for many during the pandemic, and as the stigma of seeking help for issues with anxiety, depression, and insomnia has faded, services offering help for those in need have surged.
The Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness has been working to provide resources to those seeking mental-health support, and together with Help@Hand has teamed up to offer access to Headspace — a mental-wellness meditation app available on Apple, Android, and most desktops and tablet devices — to 5,000 residents at no cost.
“We are excited to announce the launch of 5,000 Headspace licenses throughout our county, beginning October 2, 2021,” Interim Director for Behavioral Wellness Pam Fisher said. “Headspace offers meditation and mindfulness through its app and can benefit its user’s reliefs from stress, help with increasing movement, sleep, focus, and so much more.”
The five-year project is part of a statewide collaborative project — administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority and paid for using Mental Health Services Act Innovations funding — tailored to “increase access to mental-health care, support wellness, promote the early detection of mental illness, and allow early intervention,” according to a statement from Behavioral Wellness Public Information Officer Suzanne Grimmesey.
Headspace was launched originally in 2012, but has reincarnated in a few different forms. The latest application uses guided meditation, yoga exercises, mindfulness games, and sleep-promoting soundscapes to help its users fight off the stresses built up from everyday life. The company’s stated mission is to “improve the health and happiness of the world,” and it has gained popularity in recent years, reaching more than 70 million users in 190 countries.
A monthly subscription typically costs $12.99 per month, with the annual subscription costing $69.99 a year. The county’s Headspace launch will offer licenses at no cost to “key identified populations,” including “individuals discharged from a psychiatric hospitalization, recipients of crisis services, adults receiving services from the Behavioral Wellness system who are in geographically isolated communities, and transitional-age youth enrolled in colleges and universities,” Grimmesey said. Transitional-age youth are typically ages 16-25.
Help@Hand team members will provide training on how to enroll and use the Headspace app and will focus on using the platform as another piece to providing care that can empower individuals to pursue mental wellness through digital technology.
Licenses will be distributed in a three-phase process to the identified groups, but there are plans to open the program more broadly throughout the next year.
For more information on the Help@Hand Headspace project, please contact Maria Arteaga at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Santa Barbara County Department of Behavioral Wellness, visit countyofsb.org/behavioral-wellness.