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AI to the Rescue: Revolutionizing Mental Health Care

By Santura Pegram

Frequent acts of violence in schools and away from schools, suicides, spontaneous deviant acts, and more continue to escalate across the country and around the world leaving most people stunned about what has caused such a decline in society. The fact is, for decades, systems have often dealt with the topic of mental health in America by essentially doing very little or nothing at all.

Instead of searching for and adopting concepts that not only have proven to be successful, school systems (especially those involving public education) have tiptoed around unruly, distracted, or misunderstood children. Often introducing out-of-touch methodologies that have proven to be fruitless. Similarly, schools have been quick to place a team(s) of Crisis Counselors in a school for a couple of days after a tragedy has involved a fellow student(s) or staff member(s), but these same children are left to fend for themselves (emotionally and otherwise) whenever they are away from school, at home, or out in the community. Vulnerable to forces that are often overwhelming and where no help is available.

Traditional healthcare systems have struggled to identify how to provide quality mental health services that meet or exceed the basic therapeutic response, which often consists of merely evaluating a patient admitted to the psych ward of a hospital, sometimes medicating them, and quickly discharging them within a few days or weeks under the guise of recommending a sensible “action plan” for the patient to follow.

Law enforcement departments, prosecutors, and courts that collectively make up the criminal justice system have often ignored the obvious and not-so-obvious by opting to push for convictions instead of creating legitimate opportunities for rehabilitation that could reduce (or prevent) future acts of community violence. Disappointingly, public safety dollars have continued to consume most budgets of state and local governments as such funding is misallocated on hiring increasing numbers of police officers to departments and militarizing them by purchasing pricey weaponry, tactical equipment, and vehicles that exceed what the armed forces of some small countries possess, in addition to building bigger jails and more prisons. All factors that research has proven to be ineffective approaches to interrupting or deterring crime.

One question remains a challenge to decision-makers who have followed the same dead-end path over the last several decades: What is the cost of doing little or nothing?

As the lack of qualified therapists and the prohibitive cost of traditional therapy continue to be two of the major obstacles to an individual receiving proper mental healthcare, thankfully, a new innovative approach has emerged from a startup company known as mySHO (which stands for My Select Health Options). Founded in 2019 by military veterans Terry Williams and A.J. Pasha, mySHO is a digital platform that provides technologically transformative products and services to address gaps in the education system, healthcare system, criminal justice system, and other sectors. As an industry trailblazer, mySHO’s unique, culturally competent, and culturally connected programming features the most advanced artificial intelligence platform in the mental health tech arena today.

To deliver their vision of a truly transformational health tech organization, mySHO has connected with two powerful sources: Scalable Care (WSC-Well Advised), a leading technology firm based in Silicon Valley (Scalable Care Chief Technology Officer John Denning is a medical technology industry veteran who was a prominent member of the team that developed MyChart and Epic electronic healthcare software used by most hospitals and healthcare facilities around the world today) and the UCSF’s (University of California – San Francisco’s) Langley Porter Psychiatric Institute. Both sources joined forces with mySHO to bring GritX to market, an evidence-based mental health digital tool that provides 24/7 social and emotional support to populations who require ongoing emotional care. (According to one key figure within the U.S. Department of Justice, GritX by mySHO is the “best-kept thing no one knows about yet”).

Five Advantages of Partnering with mySHO-GritX

* Unlike the typical digital therapeutics model, mySHO-GritX offers services that require no appointment and are available 24/7 – 365 with the ability to receive real-time, digital, (evidence-based) mental health services and support via smartphone, tablet, or computer. So, GritX makes it possible for anyone who needs immediate mental health assistance to receive accurate, professional, emotional care at any time of day or night.

* All data points are being securely captured from each conversation with mySHO-GritX to keep a history of every interaction that the school-age youth or adult seeking mental health services has had with mySHO-GritX.

* Therapy sessions are fluent in 92 languages (and growing).

* mySHO-GritX is customizable, adaptable, and adjustable to the specifications of most behavioral and mental health systems. mySHO also has the actual operational blueprint, engagement methodology, evidence-based support tools, and self-sustainability plan to jumpstart, operationalize, and complement any Office or Department of Behavioral Health, Substance Abuse, or Public Safety. mySHO’s innovative Public-Private Partnership model utilizes available grant funding from Federal, State, and Local resources to provide GritX to the end user at no cost.

* The GritX tool is committed to setting a standard in privacy and accessibility for every user. Adhering to stringent security guidelines, which include being fully HIPPA, PII, HITECH, NIST 800-171, PCI DSS, and GDPR-compliant. GritX ensures a safe and inclusive environment for all.

In October of 2023, mySHO began participating in a program sponsored by the Mayo Clinic that allows teams of undergraduates, led by MBA students from private colleges and universities throughout Minnesota, to research and recommend the next steps for inventions and new products in development at the Mayo Clinic.

Thanks to companies like mySHO, the future of mental healthcare is looking brighter by the day.


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