CredibleMind president and CEO Deryk Van Brunt created his company to encourage self-intervention and proactive early prevention in well-being issues. Now, a new partnership with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, or NACCHO, will put Van Brunt’s organization on the national map.
According to Van Brunt, the average delay from when an individual experiences initial symptoms until they seek treatment is 10 years. The United States has a “reactive system of care,” in which mental health issues are only addressed when individuals reach a peak and must actively reach out for help.
“The idea is not ‘let’s direct you to another therapist or another doctor,’ (because) people know where to go to find that,” Van Brunt said. “Three out of four people that have mental distress don’t want to see a doctor or get medication. What they want is to know what they can do to feel better.”
Following his son’s experience with anxiety and positive results with CredibleMind, Van Brunt said he has seen the effectiveness of the company’s philosophy firsthand.
CredibleMind is a website that employs personalized, evidence-based self-care for every user’s experience. Van Brunt noted that each well-being summary begins with research, including talking to leading professionals around the world. After data is collected and chief coping strategies are identified, the written summary lists a variety of resources — ranging from videos to podcasts — for users to choose from.
While attending a conference with NACCHO representatives, Van Brunt said he approached the organization and began discussing a partnership because they had previously voiced concerns about their lack of mental health focus.
So far, 20,000 resources have been incorporated with up to 400 added monthly. Users can leave reviews for ones they prefer to inform others, Van Brunt added.
“The country and the world need to move away from thinking that mental health is this bad thing that you wait to see if it’s gonna happen, and then you deal with it after the fact,” Van Brunt said. “We need to proactively build resilience and help with early intervention across all mental health and well-being issues and give people the tools to live their best life.”
Looking to the future, Van Brunt hopes CredibleMind will eventually work with other user channels such as high school and university students, employers, insurance companies and hospitals with the help of NACCHO’s national prominence.
Since the partnership was announced 60 days ago, CredibleMind has spread to 20 different counties and 15 different states. Van Brunt predicted this number will increase to 100 public health districts in the next year or two.
“There are probably about 20 to 30 million people right now in the United States with access to CredibleMind, but it’s just going to expand rapidly over the next few years,” Van Brunt said.
UC Berkeley School of Public Health Dean Michael Lu expressed admiration of Van Brunt — who is also a part-time professor at the school — and CredibleMind’s achievements.
“I am so proud of Deryk and this partnership between CredibleMind and NACCHO to tackle the nation’s mental health crisis,” Lu said in an email. “It’s yet another shining example of how Berkeley faculty are making a difference and solving big problems in the world.”