myStrength is a free mental health app available to those living and working in Yakima County. The Yakima Health District offers the app to help people control anxiety and other issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

By now, we should be totally acclimated to the pandemic and all its stresses.

We’re accustomed to working from home. We’re used to our new shopping patterns, restrictions on gatherings and other health- and safety-related limitations.

It’s OK that we never see the smiles behind the masks; we’re just assuming that everybody is smiling. Why wouldn’t they? We’re all getting our jabs. Pandemic-related worries are so 2020.

Said or thought no one alive in 2021 ever.

COVID-19 has pummeled us from every direction, and it’s not ready to let up. Many of us are anxious, angry, isolated, nervous and worried to the moon and beyond, and for good reason.

But we fight back. We look for positive signs. Sometimes, we find new or better ways to cope.

And if we get help along the way, so much the better. Which brings us to myStrength, a free behavioral health app offered by the Yakima Health District to benefit people who live and work in Yakima County.

The app provides tools for anxiety control, balancing emotions, managing pain and improving sleep — and more — as we look for any kind of edge in our war against the pandemic and its intrusions.

“Our mental health is important, and we have seen the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our collective health,” Dr. Larry Jecha, interim health officer for the Yakima Health District, said in the recent health district news release introducing the app. “While public health recommendations are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, they can make us feel isolated and increase our stress. Therefore, it is important to find healthy ways to cope and take care of our mental health.”

Is myStrength the be-all, end-all in our efforts to cope with COVID-19? Unlikely, but it is one more valuable tool — an arrow in the quiver, if you will — as we seek to protect our physical and mental health in this era of great stress. There’s nothing phony about COVID-19 fatigue, nor is it something that should make us feel shame.

“It is crucial to find healthy ways to focus on your mental health,” said Andre Fresco, health district executive director “Use it at home with your family, on your break, or to help you go to sleep. … Consider using this app as a resource for your well-being.”

All tools offered within myStrength are “evidence-based self-help resources for emotional health and overall well-being,” the health district’s news release noted. The app is available in English and Spanish.

“Highly interactive, individually tailored applications empower myStrength users to address depression, anxiety, stress, substance use, chronic pain and sleep challenges, while also supporting the physical and spiritual aspects of whole-person health,” the myStrength website says.

Sounds good to us.

Maybe most of us really are smiling behind those masks. For those who aren’t, it might be a good idea to give myStrength a whirl. The Yakima Health District recognizes that, now more than ever, we need to be taking care of ourselves — physically, mentally and spiritually. So take a deep breath, count to 10 and check out myStrength at www.mystrength.com, using the access code “YakimaCounty.”

Members of the Yakima Herald-Republic editorial board are Greg Halling, Joanna Markell and Bruce Drysdale.