Denver-based health-tech firm connects new parents with mental health services

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Denver Business Journal reports on Livongo for Behavioral Health by myStrength's Pregnancy and Early Parenting program

By – Reporter, Denver Business Journal

A Denver-based tech company is targeting consumers dealing with the challenges of pregnancy and early parenting.

The platform is Livongo for Behavioral Health by myStrength. Denver-based myStrength was founded nine years ago with the intention of using technology to improve access to behavioral health resources. Through the company’s platform, users can access customized and guided therapy activities, search and get guidance for specific topics, track their progress, practice mindfulness and read inspirational quotes. The platform can be used by therapy providers as homework or can be accessed by users as an additional offering from insurance or medical providers. At the beginning of the year myStrength was acquired by Livongo Health, a California-based health-tech company focused on helping people with chronic conditions.

MyStrenth offers focus areas on anxiety, depression, substance abuse, opioid recovery, stress management, sleep issues and other concerns. Users faced with pregnancy and early parenting often have overlapping mental health issues.

“About 70 to 80% of new moms experience mood swings, one-fourth of which feel it’s significant,” said Matt Sopcich, co-founder of myStrength and senior vice president of behavioral health for Livongo. “Many individuals don’t get access to care or resources and there are profound impacts on not just the mother’s mental health, but that of the family and the infant.”

Parental mental health is not a problem limited to individuals: Sopcich said there’s a $14 billion cost on society associated with the issue. And failing to address postpartum depression or other mood concerns following a pregnancy can be a major health risk.

“Postpartum depression is the No. 1 complication of pregnancy,” said Amy Lukowski, clinical product director.

The platform is built not just for mothers, but any new parent or family structure.

“At one point a lot of people thought it was hormonal, but that’s a myth,” Lukowski said of postpartum depression. “It’s not just moms, but dads too.”

Users can access the myStrength platform — which is offered free to them if their medical provider or insurance provider is partnered with myStrength — and answer questions to customize their experience: whether they’re pregnant, whether they have a child age 0 to 3, whether they’re struggling with fertility or even grieving the loss of an infant. They can answer questions about how they feel about the pregnancy experience and concerns they have — and even track their mood.

Users can select specific treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or mindfulness and relaxations, all built into the platform. It also works for people who might have preexisting behavioral health concerns or who are experiencing multiple issues at once. New parents can also benefit from the sleep activities, for example. Or they can get guidance on specific parenting concerns, such as breastfeeding and maintaining a career while raising a small child.

“We’re focused on building out a robust offering that is inclusive and have provided services not only for mom but for the family, whether that family has a single mom, same-sex couple or other situations, we’ve tried to be broad when we developed our resources,” Sopcich said.

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