Providing people with mild depression with instant access to a cost-effective, evidence-based program and a professional health coach.

Toronto — January 17, 2024 — NexJ Health Inc. (“NexJ Health”), provider of polychronic condition management and mental wellbeing solutions, today announces a new behavior change coaching program for mental wellbeing, specifically targeted to people with mild-to-moderate mental health symptoms, a population often not provided with sufficient support.

There is a mental health epidemic in the United States. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 Americans live with mental illness, which has significant implications to our collective emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing.1 People who experience depression and anxiety are at higher risk of other chronic conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and chronic pain. In fact, over 60% of the population have at least one chronic condition.2 It is therefore imperative when providing person-centered care to include support from a polychronic perspective, taking into consideration all of a person’s needs, including their mental wellbeing.

What is also of great concern is that when mental health symptoms are mild, people typically do not receive much support. While some clinicians may prescribe medications or recommend talk therapy for individuals with mild depression, the most common approach is to ‘wait and see’. But even mild depression IS depression. When people are left on their own, some do manage (even though it hurts), but for others, their symptoms get worse. Research suggests that 18% of people with mild depression progress to severe depression.3 Under dire circumstances, people may commit self-harm, end up in the emergency department, or attempt or commit suicide. Therefore, providing support when symptoms are mild is important to reduce suffering, and to prevent more debilitating and costly deterioration of mental health.

UC San Diego Health, an academic health system, is the first hospital site to roll out the program. This new program is specifically targeted at improving the mental wellbeing of people with mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety. NexJ Health provides a natural extension of the bricks and mortar mental health clinics by focusing on health behaviors, using evidence-based behavior change counselling, with AI-enabled technology. NexJ Health provides  additional clinical expertise with our specially trained health coaches who refer back and report to mental health clinicians with a measurement-based care model that uses our sophisticated analytic dashboards.

The intervention approach focuses on increasing the adoption and adherence to health behaviors, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and mindfulness meditation. The clinical evidence over the last 50 years on the efficacy of health behaviors at improving mental health symptoms is very conclusive, showing a very clear connection between adherence to positive behaviors improves mental health. Systematic reviews and meta-analysis indicate not only that moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise prevent4 and improve5,6 depression and anxiety, but activity as simple as walking can have a significant protective effect.7 Healthy diet consisting of lots of fruit and vegetables has been shown to provide meaningful reduction in depression symptoms8, and mindfulness based interventions alleviate depressive symptoms.9 Finally, sleep quality has been found to be one of the strongest indicators of good mental health.10 All these reasons make it very clear that the inclusion of health coaching for behavior change is a meaningful and needed addition to mental health care.

Coaching sessions are focused on improving the participant’s adoption and adherence to key health behaviors, like exercise, diet, and mindfulness. The coach guides the participant in setting goals, overcoming barriers, and working through ambivalence. In addition to video-based coaching sessions, participants have 24/7 access via secure messaging to their coach to discuss behavioral wins, struggles, and to ask questions. While not an emergency service, coaches are trained to respond through a defined escalation protocol when participants are in crisis or experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Personalized content includes evidence-based modules on physical activity and exercise, diet, mindfulness, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), as well as various chronic conditions, financial literacy, sleep hygiene, and stress management. The platform includes a suite of Goal Setting and CBT content and interactive worksheets, including action plans, decisional balance, and thought records. While CBT is included, coaching itself is differentiated from psychotherapy as the coach focuses on evoking and inquiring for behavioral activation, not intervening or prescribing.11

This intervention has led to an average 30% reduction in depression, and 23% reduction in anxiety symptoms across program deployments. Participants report feeling supported, listened to, and appreciative of being in the program. The connection to their health coach via NexJ Connected Wellness smartphone app extends beyond their synchronous video sessions providing a multi-channel therapeutic alliance, leading to a sense of safety and care, and an enhanced sense of support that many have never experience.

Providing affordable, evidence-based programs is an important strategy to combat the mental health crisis we are facing.

Contact us today.

Phone: 416-227-3700.

About NexJ Health Inc.

NexJ Health Inc. is a provider of patient-facing population health management solutions that deliver patient engagement for chronic disease prevention and management. At NexJ Health, we believe that the most efficient and cost-effective way to offset the rise in chronic disease is to empower patients, with the support of their families, friends, and healthcare professionals, to actively participate in managing their own chronic condition(s). By engaging patients through NexJ Connected Wellness, we help to achieve healthcare’s 5-part aim: improve the patient experience, improve population health, lower the per capita cost of care, increase provider satisfaction, and deliver business efficiency. For more information about NexJ Health visit, e-mail, or call 416-227-3700.

  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2023). ↩︎
  2. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (2023). ↩︎
  3. Zhang R, Peng X, Song X, Long J, Wang C, Zhang C, et al. The prevalence and risk of developing major depression among individuals with subthreshold depression in the general population. Psychol Med. 2023;53(8):3611–20. ↩︎
  4. McDowell CP, Dishman RK, Gordon BR, Herring MP. Physical Activity and Anxiety: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Prospective Cohort Studies. Am J Prev Med. 2019;57(4):545–56. ↩︎
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  9. Klainin-Yobas P, Cho MA, Creedy D. Efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions on depressive symptoms among people with mental disorders: a meta-analysis. Int J Nurs Stud. 2012 Jan;49(1):109-21. ↩︎
  10. Wickham SR, Amarasekara NA, Bartonicek A, Conner TS. The Big Three Health Behaviors and Mental Health and Well-Being Among Young Adults: A Cross-Sectional Investigation of Sleep, Exercise, and Diet. Front Psychol. 2020;11(December):1–10. ↩︎
  11. Jordan M, Livingstone JB. Coaching vs Psychotherapy in Health and Wellness: Overlap, Dissimilarities, and the Potential for Collaboration. Glob Adv Heal Med. 2013;2(4):20–7. ↩︎