Calm Wants to Know How You're Feeling: All About Its New Mental Health Screening Tool (Exclusive)

"With tools like Calm, people have daily, personalized support available at their fingertips."

Bianca Piazza - Author

May 7 2024, Published 4:21 p.m. ET

Images of the Calm app's mental health screening questionnaire
Source: Calm

You surely know of the popular sleep and meditation app Calm — yes, the one that collaborated with Grammy-winning dreamboat Harry Styles, encouraging users to drift off to the sound of the "As It Was" singer's smooth-as-butter voice. Sigh...

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, the San Francisco-based company launched a free mental health screening tool on May 7, 2024, in an ongoing effort to prioritize and normalize accessible mental health resources. The tool is completely free of charge, and does not require any subscription or sign-up.

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Though we always recommend speaking directly with your physician regarding personal mental health concerns (as does Calm), clinical psychologist and Calm's Chief Clinical Officer, Dr. Chris Mosunic, exclusively tells Green Lovers via email that "screening is a great first step for a person to identify how they’re doing mentally and emotionally."

Available to U.S. residents at least 18 years of age, Calm's mental health screening combines the Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7 (GAD-7) and Patient Health Questionnaire 8 (PHQ-8) tests, and takes just one to two minutes to fill out.

Woman closing eyes holds mug in front of window in peaceful moment
Source: iStock
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Dr. Mosunic says the confidential screening's goal is "to help people take the first step from the comfort of their own home and direct them to appropriate tools, taking the guesswork out of getting support."

Keep reading to learn more about Calm's new mental health screening and for our exclusive e-interview with Dr. Mosunic about the goals of the screening and modern technology's influence on mental health care.

The struggle is real, and also common: Calm reports one in two adults will grapple with mental health issues in their lifetime.

Newsflash: Mental health is health, and it's important that you manage and care for it. According to Calm, 50 percent of Americans "will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition some time in their life." Plus, the National Institute of Mental Health relayed it's estimated that just half of people with mental illnesses get the treatment they need.

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"In a recent Calm survey, we found only 44 percent of respondents say they have been screened for anxiety or discussed it with a medical provider. At the same time, last year the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force announced a paradigm-shifting mental health recommendation: all adults aged 19 to 64 should be regularly screened for anxiety," Dr. Mosunic tells Green Lovers. "This tension, coupled with our mission to support people at each step of their mental health journey resulted in this screening."

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Calm's mental health screening will recommend specific resources based on the user's questionnaire results. Calm, Calm Health, and free resources from organizations like SAMHSA, ADAA, and NAMI may be recommended and/or provided.

Dr. Mosunic believes "access, education, and stigma" impact the average person's prioritization of mental health care.

"While technology has greatly expanded options for mental health support, it also can make it hard for consumers to know where to begin, and what is going to be effective," Dr. Mosunic tells us.

A 2021 report by the Mental Health Million Project featured telling data based on responses from over 45,000 people across 10 countries to the Mental Health Quotient (MHQ) assessment, as noted by Forbes. Findings show that 45 percent of U.S. participants with a "clinical-level" mental health issue do not pursue professional help. Why? While 37 percent of U.S. participants had a "lack confidence in the mental health system," this being the No. 1 reason, a whopping 34 percent had a "lack of knowledge of what kind of help to seek."

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Calm's mental health screening aims to point people in the right direction.

"We designed our mental health screening as a great first step for someone to evaluate their mental and emotional health, and get directed to appropriate, high-quality support," Dr. Mosunic continues. "Technology can also provide relief to an overwhelmed healthcare system by expanding options for support, efficiently navigating people to the right level of care, and providing ongoing monitoring."

That looming stigma, as mentioned by Dr. Mosunic, reared its ugly head as well, as 25 percent of U.S. participants with clinical-level mental health issues who did not seek help relayed that "stigma or not wanting others to know" was a reason.

Having international superstars like Harry Styles — who has been open about his mental well-being and decision to start therapy — partner with companies like Calm is all a part of the lengthy destigmatization process. The more we speak about, write about, and learn about the realities of mental health, the smaller the stigma becomes.

If you or someone you know needs help, use SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support for mental health and substance use disorders in your area or call 1-800-662-4357 for 24-hour assistance.

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