According to the American Addiction Centers, in 2017, 19.7 million American adults (ages 12 and older) battled a substance abuse disorder. And 8.5 million Americans suffered both mental health and substance abuse disorders. Mental health awareness month is a good time to recognize those who are struggling with addictions and mental health challenges. It’s also a good time to highlight entrepreneurs using technology to help others. Beau Mann is the CEO of Sober Grid, an app that aids people in or seeking recovery from addiction.
Creating a community
A crucial part of recovery is having genuine connection and support from others. But one of the main obstacles during the pandemic has been isolation. So, Sober Grid — with its social media-like interface — connects users with a community of individuals that have experienced or are currently in recovery. It also provides daily recovery-related practices, such as reading materials and gratitude lists.
Mann knows firsthand that some people relapse, no matter if they’ve already entered sustained remission. So, another key feature of Sober Grid is its AI technology. In partnership with Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, they created artificial intelligence that can predict if a user is approaching a higher risk of relapse. Then, they partnered with a telehealth company called Ascent by Sober Grid, which has state-certified addiction recovery coaches.
A B2B model
Who can use this app? Anyone. It’s for people of all walks of recovery. And it’s a B2B model: Agencies, corporations, labor unions and even states can purchase Sober Grid for the people in their communities. For example, the app has a contract with Ohio and a major labor union.
Mann believes it’s important to look beyond self-medication and look into the “why” of substance abuse. He believes Sober Grid can help people improve their mental health and succeed in recovery. It’s available now in the Apple and Google Play stores.
If you’re struggling with a mental and/or substance use disorder, the number for SAMHSA’s National Helpline is 1-800-662-HELP (4357).