Saline County Begins Mental Health Effort

As a part of an overall effort to combat negative mental health issues as the community emerges from the stress of the last two years, Saline County kicked off their inaugural “Love Your Mental Health Campaign” by announcing a partnership with mental health service provider Cope Notes to offer free digital wellness resources to County employees and residents.

“Mental health is just as important as physical health,” explained Phil Smith-Hanes, County Administrator. “We are grateful that our County Commission recognizes this and is adding another tool to our community’s toolbox to help address mental health challenges.”

Cope Notes is a text message-based service that provides individuals with randomly timed messages that contain anything from psychology facts to exercises and journaling prompts. Every subscriber’s text sequence is unique so that no two users ever receive the same message at the same time. Each Cope Notes text must first undergo a thorough review process by a panel of peer-support advocates and mental health professionals, in order to ensure that the messages will have a positive effect on the subscriber’s health. The ultimate goal of the service is to train the brain to disrupt negative thoughts and promote a more positive pattern of thinking.

An intervention like Cope Notes is distinctly applicable in the current climate when attendance in mental health programs is low and demand for preventative digital health services is at an all-time high.

Funded through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Cope Notes’ implementation in Saline County comes at a time when the stressors and complications of adapting to COVID-19 have amplified the need for digital solutions that maintain consistent communication with individuals seeking preventative care, as well as those reluctant to engage with providers altogether.

The program went live to employees on February 4. A simple link prompts employees to input their phone number and their first text arrives within 48 hours. After that, those who opt into the program receive a text (or two) each day for a year at no cost to them. The program will be rolled out for community members this week.

“The ARPA funding solves the financial side of the equation, and we’re here to solve the service side,” Johnny Crowder, Cope Notes Founder and CEO explained. “Mental health has become a top priority, whether we want to acknowledge it or not. We can’t keep putting it off. The time to act is now, and the clock is ticking.”

While Cope Notes encourages members to reply to text messages, it does not offer real-time conversations, but rather encourages members to use replies as an anonymous, confidential journal. A person in crisis can text the word “HELP” to connect with a crisis counselor at the Crisis Text Line.

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Saline County ARPA Webpage