By Karin Anderson

Clay Olsen, founder and CEO of Logan-based Impact Suite, has built a bouquet of subscription mental health apps based on the conviction that mental or mood disorders are largely caused by external pressures. That is, human beings do not live in bodies that are innately disordered so much as they are struggling under the pressures of a “depressogenic” society. 

“We are kind of bathing in risk factors,” Olsen explained. “We are conditioning our environment to provide the optimal circumstances for us to struggle in these ways.”

Impact Suite was recently acquired by Malouf Companies, an innovative furniture and bedding firm. Given Malouf’s notable commitment to the well-being of its employees, and the Malouf Foundation’s focus on fighting child sexual exploitation, the alliance seems predestined. Olsen’s decade of actively directing “Fight the New Drug,” a nonprofit organization that addresses pornography as addiction, made him an attractive mentor for Malouf’s developing nonprofit branch. Malouf’s humanitarian business practices made Impact Suite a natural addition. Impact Suite, originally based in Salt Lake City, is now housed in the Malouf headquarters in Logan, Utah. 

It might seem ironic that effective mitigations of our sedentary, screen-mediated, profit-driven “depressogenic” lifestyle may emerge from corporate technology. Then again, it seems more than fitting that the best of corporate culture is rising to meet its own profoundly human challenges. Kelly Greenwood and Julia Anas, updating data and recommendations beyond their 2019 research on mental health in the workplace state, “The way we’re working isn’t sustainable, and it’s hurting our mental health … Increasingly, the focus is on work’s effect on everyone’s mental health.” 

While not the whole solution, well-designed mental health apps are an empowering resource. Organizational investment is one way to offer valuable employee benefits. Organizations can contract Impact Suite technology and services for employees – including employees’ family members – as an attractive, even vital, addition to their compensation packages. 

The specialized apps comprising the Impact Suite are designed to complement and structure positive behaviors in specialized spheres of mental health (tech culture leans toward an alternative term, “mental fitness”). Participants’ interactions with any of Impact Suite’s services are confidential, direct (no need for HR facilitation), and tiered. Users can seek information and resources loaded into the continually updated databases; track actions and progress according to their personal needs; graph strengths, weaknesses, and urgencies; and, entirely at their own discretion, schedule live-screen counseling with Impact Suite’s dedicated staff of therapists. Four apps are well established and in use, with a fifth in the final stages before its full launch. 

The “Climb” app is designed for improving or maintaining general wellness and personal growth. “Lift” addresses depression and anxiety, “Turn” offers resources for substance abuse recovery, and “Fortify” is focused on sexual compulsivity. The fifth, on the verge of launch, is a parenting app called “Raise,” designed to help parents guide their children through the complexities of screen interactions. 

Clay Olsen’s action-oriented and access-based approach to providing real help for real people means that Impact Suite is ever amenable to surprising, even “disruptive” marketing innovations. One of the most striking is Impact Suite’s recent negotiations with several NFT organizations. The most publicized at the moment is Impact Suite’s contract with CryptoMories, an online “famorie” founded on principles of community and individual wellbeing in the NFT space. CryptoMories has made the full app suite available as a benefit to Morie owners and their real-world families. 

Providing corporate-style benefits to less traditional groups and alliances is a creative and potentially norm-shattering move. The CryptoMories website comments clearly demonstrate that mental health solutions are arising from cross-cultural alliances, intersecting interests, and transformations in technological and virtual priorities:  

We have worked hard to assure the Morie community was as inclusive, kind and caring as possible. The FaMorie became a place where people felt safe to share their fears and traumas.  

By embracing this movement, we quickly became known in the space as advocates of the mental health cause … We promised we would always try to be innovative and push the boundaries in everything we do. And we hope to have achieved this today. 

The CryptoMorie team is extremely happy and proud to announce that we have partnered with Impact Site to provide free, individualized professional mental health support to owners of the Mories, as well as their immediate relatives. This includes unlimited teletherapy, coaching, wellbeing tracking, and many other amazing things that we hope will help the Mories and their close ones on their quest to achieve happiness (sic) and wellbeing.

Currently, Impact Suite’s products and services offer a free basic tier with limited access to features or is available for individual purchase. Access is not contingent upon employment or membership in a subscribing group. Group membership does, however, provide the greatest range of package benefits – for employers who understand that the wellbeing of every employee enhances the financial health, productivity, and reputation of the organization and, crucially, for employees who accept work as a means of providing themselves and their loved ones with healthy, secure, and meaningful lives. 
The causes of the very real mental health crises in our turbulent times are complex. Remedies are, too. Healing at the individual, institutional, and cultural levels will require many kinds of knowledge, practice, and expertise. Well-considered, institutionally supported technological resources like Impact Suite are one clear indication that tech and corporate cultures are working to help transform outdated paradigms of human capital at the root, branch and leaf. 

Groups like Malouf, Impact Suite, and CryptoMories are addressing human mental fitness at the level of institutional change and individual empowerment by facilitating focused, attentive personal action. Dr. Stephen Ilardi from the University of Kansas puts it this way, “We were never designed for the sedentary, indoor, sleep-deprived, socially-isolated, fast-food-laden, screen-addicted, frenetic pace of modern life.” 

“When someone comes in, we help identify and assess their risk factors and root contributors in these primary fifteen categories of lifestyle,” explained Olsen. “Once we help identify what those might be – sleep, work, in relationships, or what they may be – we then have journeys to help individuals make micro adjustments and improvements in those areas and hold their hand through that process, all the while providing them full access to therapeutic resources and coaching resources. We also have on-demand tools that help them learn, connect with others, and track and visualize those improvements over time. That's what really resonates with these therapists that we work with. They feel like it's not just the ambulance at the bottom of the hill looking to address the problem, but going upstream and supporting individuals and improving themselves for long term success. We don't just have to manage and cope. We can improve and heal from these issues that we're facing today.” 

TechBuzz welcomes Karin Anderson, a nonfiction and fiction writer focused on people, places, and cultures of the Great Basin. 




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