Anyone can feel down during this time of year, but the situation can be even more difficult for those in recovery, those addressing problems associated with domestic violence, mental health or seasonal affective disorder, said Daney Hill, a GED instructor at Prototypes in Pomona.
Prototypes works with women, children and families affected by abuse, addiction and other behavioral issues.
"This particular population is away from their families," said Hill, who also works with clients to develop job skills and trains clients to use the website MyStrength.com and its mobile application.
During this time of the year, clients may remember difficult times or happy times with family, she said.
Clients fill out a profile when they register to use the website. The confidential information helps MyStrength.com select relevant articles and videos for the client, said Sarah Murphy, the website's vice president of marketing.
The website sends each user three articles and a video each day with information they can use, Murphy said.
That information is offered "in bite-sized chunks" so people are not overwhelmed, she said.
MyStrength.com also asks questions that help clients determine if they are experiencing anxiety or depression, Hill said. And it provides suggestions to address the conditions, Hill said.
"There are positive affirmations that help them get through the day," Hill said.
The website will also send an alert to a client if the level of anxiety or the depression is such that she should see her counselor or therapist right away, Hill said.
The website and the mobile application, in combination with discussions with their counselors or therapists, help clients deal with feelings of anxiety or depression before they become overwhelming, said Cassandra Loch, the president and chief executive officer of Prototypes.
In addition, the website and application offer resources that help clients track their mood in addition to determining what triggers anxiety or depression and how it's addressed, Hill said.
Clients can then take the information to counselors or therapists, Hills said.
The website and application are available free to Prototypes clients, Hill said.
The website is not intended to be a substitute for sessions with counselors or therapists. "It's not replacing, it's enhancing," Loch said.
A tool such as MyStrength.com is part of Prototypes' goal of adapting to the needs of the community, Loch said.
"We know people are already on the Internet," she said.
The combination of the website and the mobile application brings a resource that offers reliable information.
"The reason we went with MyStrength.com was it is evidence-based," Loch said.
Prototypes began making the technology available this fall to its employees, Loch said.
"Our employees work in a very stressful job," she said.
That allowed employees to learn how the technology works and then show clients how to use it.
Prototypes did not intend to launch the technology in time for the holiday season, but as the nonprofit's administrators worked to make the website available, they noticed the dates.
"This is just a perfect time because it's such a stressful time," Loch said.
Prototypes is MyStrength's only California partner, Murphy said.
Access to the website and the mobile application is available through Prototypes. To learn how to access and register for MyStrength.com, call 213-542-3838.