CHESS Health Launches Substance Use Disorder Recovery Support App in Spanish

After giving birth in 2021, a woman was unable to bring her newborn daughter home due to her active use of opioids during her pregnancy. The trauma of being a new mother unable to care for her child prompted her to begin her treatment for substance use disorder, which included the use of CHESS Health’s Connections app, a solution recovery assistance.

During her therapy, she was only able to have supervised visits with her daughter. One night, she particularly struggled.

“In the middle of the night, she posted in the app for the very first time something like, ‘I have 41 days of recovery and I don’t know how I can get out of it.’ … We read this post at 1:30 a.m. because our team works, researches, and supports the community all night,” CHESS Health CEO Hans Morefield said in a recent interview. “And we supported her at 1:30 a.m. morning and the community of other individuals [on the app] offered her support that night and the next.

The woman, whose identity Morefield declined to provide to protect her privacy, has since married, won custody of her daughter and given birth to a healthy son. Now based in Rochester, New York Chess Health will be able to support more people as it launches a Spanish version of the app called Conexiones. More than 7% of Hispanic Americans have a substance use disorder but have less access to treatment than non-Hispanic Americans, according to a company press release.

“There are tens of millions of Americans whose primary language is Spanish who are struggling to access treatment and in particular, who are struggling to access recovery support services,” Morefield said. .

Conexiones will provide the same type of services as the Connections app, which offers 24/7 peer support and management tools for people in recovery. However, it will focus on challenges specifically faced by members of the Latinx community.

“Collective experiences are key to healing SUD. By providing Conexiones, we equip our Spanish-speaking participants with culturally sensitive resources and support. These are essential elements that will enhance their recovery experience while reducing the treatment disparities that exist today,” said Dr. Anna Lee, Chief Innovation Officer at Social Model Recovery Systems, in the press release. The provider is an early adopter of the Conexiones app.

In addition to helping people in the recovery phase of a substance use disorder, CHESS Health also supports prevention and intervention. Its ePrevention solution makes it possible to identify people at risk early thanks to its online anonymous screening test. If someone is considered high risk, they encourage treatment, provide resources, and offer the opportunity to speak with one of CHESS’ specialists. Its online intervention tool helps refer people to healthcare providers.

CHESS Health works with behavioral health providers, health plans and public sector organizations to deliver its solutions. The latter includes health departments, social service departments, tribal health programs, and public schools.

Other digital startups for substance use disorders include Bike health and Block care, which provide treatment for drug addiction. CHESS Health, however, is designed as a service to supplement people’s treatment between visits with their provider, Morefield said.

“They might come on a Tuesday afternoon to see their therapist,” Morefield said. “They are in the early stages of recovery. Hopefully they will have a great 50 minute session with their therapist. And then it’s 167 hours until they come back to see their therapist in the next session. We are the support tool to get them through those 167 hours.

Photo: Nataliia Nesterenko, Getty Images