Nation's Leading Mental Health Organization Joins Forces With Producers of First Validated On-Line Mental Health Checklist
Opportunity to Reach 60 million Americans with Mood, Anxiety Disorders; Help General Public Monitor Mental Wellness Using New Internet Technology
Contacts: Bill Lichtenstein, 617-682-3708 or Bill@LCMedia.com
Steve Vetzner, (703) 797-2588 or firstname.lastname@example.org
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., and ALEXANDRIA, Va. (June 4, 2010)-M3 Information, the leading developer of validated on-line mental health screening tools, and Mental Health America, the nation's largest and oldest mental health advocacy and public education organization, have announced a collaboration to reach tens of millions of Americans with mental health issues utilizing new Internet and IPhone/PDA based Applications for mental health promotion and prevention.
The first project that the two organizations will be collaborating on is the M3 Mental Health Checklist, a 27-question, three-minute online checklist that accurately indicates whether a patient may have any of four major mental health conditions. The test was validated as being as accurate as traditional in-office mental health screeners, according to a recent study by researchers at the University of North Carolina and published in the Annals of Family Medicine.
"The M3 Checklist has the ability to reach the 60 million Americans suffering from mood and anxiety disorders, and to let them know if they have a reason to seek medical care," says Gerald Hurowitz, a partner in M3 Information.
"This exciting partnership will allow us to combine our efforts to educate the public about diagnosable and treatable illnesses, with a simple and practical tool to determine if help should be sought," says David L. Shern, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America.
For the millions of Americans grappling with depression, anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or bipolar disorder, the documented accuracy of the M3 Checklist is a major breakthrough for mental health care. The M3 Checklist also indicates whether a user is at risk for suicide or substance abuse, and the web-based version prints a one-page test report that a user can give to their doctor. The IPhone/PDA version of the M3 features a pop-up screen that allows users whose test indicates that they might be at risk of suicide to call with a single touch the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK ) run by MHA's New York chapter. (Photos and graphics of the M3 Checklist are available on-line at .tinyurl.com/M3photos )
The M3 Checklist is private, simple to use, and does not require any personal information to be divulged. It can be taken online, and is also available as an Application for mobile devices. Users can monitor their progress by retaking the test at regular intervals on Microsoft's HealthVault, which ensures the results remain private but allows the information to be shared with clinicians.
The M3, which was independently funded and developed, is particularly timely: hospitals, doctors, and patients are preparing to use electronic medical record (EMR) systems to document all health care interactions and the M3 is the first validated application to use EMR technology developed for mental health care. The recent Obama Administration's economic stimulus package includes more than $20 billion in funding for the development of a nationwide electronic health record system over the next four years.
According to the most recent estimate from the National Institute of Mental Health, the annual economic impact of untreated mood disorders is more than $70 billion. For sufferers of depression and anxiety, lack of treatment can lead to reduced productivity or job loss, strain on personal relationships, and in some cases, can trigger drug use and/or suicide. Unlike other health issues, the very onset of depression and anxiety symptoms can hinder efforts by the person affected to seek help, and many sufferers are held back by shame or lethargy.
Sixty million Americans have a diagnosable mood or anxiety disorder every year while fewer than half of these individuals receive help for their condition. One reason for this shortfall has been the absence of a single, simple, and reliable screen that can assess the presence of the mood and anxiety disorders, including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and PTSD. The M3 Checklist is a symptom checklist that a patient can use to rate his or her mood in one easy review. It is comprised of a short series of questions that touch on indicators of mental health and wellness. The free and private screener is available at mymoodmonitor.com and is independently funded by M3 Information without pharmaceutical industry support. The M-3 Checklist was developed by a team of mental health practitioners and experts, including Robert M. Post, M.D., head of the Bipolar Collaborative Network; Bernard M. Snyder, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University and a cognitive behavioral therapist; Michael L. Byer, director of M-3 Information; and Gerald Hurowitz, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and a clinical psychopharmacologist.
About Mental Health America:
Mental Health America is the country's leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives. With a century of service and our more than 300 affiliates nationwide, we represent a growing movement of Americans who promote mental wellness for the health and well-being of the nation - everyday and in times of crisis.