Balance is a personalized behavioral health program
committed to delivering convenient, accessible resources when you need them.





Well-being Topics and Tips


The Johns Hopkins Advantage

For 130 years, Johns Hopkins Hospital has led the way in both biomedical discovery and health care, establishing the standard by which others follow and build upon. This is one of many faculty-developed programs, protocols and services provided by Johns Hopkins HealthCare Solutions to improve health outcomes and reduce the cost of care.  At Johns Hopkins, we know it takes a team to provide great care.



About Balance


Using Balance is easy: all you have to do is take a short, confidential survey about your personal history and what you’re going through right now. You’ll get to see your results immediately on your private dashboard. Based on your results, we’ll connect you to one of our Care Concierges, who can provide immediate support and connect you to an in-network specialist if you need one. Or, if it’s your adolescent child who needs help, our Care Concierges can work with both of you to get them the support they need, quickly and conveniently.

Balance was developed in collaboration with clinical experts at Johns Hopkins. It’s a personalized behavioral health program supported by licensed behavioral health specialists. We take the guesswork out of mental health care to help you understand how you’re feeling and easily connect you to the specific type of support that works best for you.




The Balance program provides resources and information on a variety of behavioral health topics including:

  • Effects of stress
  • When is it depression?
  • How to get a good night’s sleep
  • Relaxation exercises
  • How to boost your mood with exercise

The Importance of Mental Health

Managing your mental health is just as important as maintaining your physical well-being, but it can be a lot more challenging. You might feel uncomfortable bringing up the subject, unsure where to even begin, or maybe you just don’t have the time to take care of yourself.

And if you have adolescent children who are facing their own mental health struggles, you probably already know just how difficult it can be to find the right kind of support, when they need it. Balance can help you, and your children, every step of the way.




Our Approach to Mental Health

Balance was developed by Johns Hopkins experts in Psychology and Psychiatry. The very foundation of Balance — understanding the individual through multiple lenses to treat the whole person — is based on the Johns Hopkins Perspectives approach.

Medical Directors

Matthew E. Peters, MD is an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He holds dual appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Department of Neurology. He completed his medical school training, psychiatry residency, and neuropsychiatry fellowship at Johns Hopkins before joining the faculty.

Dr. Peters is an avid program builder, seeking to create sustainable, scalable, high quality mental health solutions that are technology-driven. To this end, he is medical director of the Balance program, which offers employer-based mental wellness solutions. Additionally, he is the medical director of Telepsychiatry and Telebehavioral Health Programs at Johns Hopkins, overseeing more than a dozen clinical, research, and educational programs that utilize telemedicine. Dr. Peters is the chief medical officer of Rose (, a technology-driven mental health solution that augments in-person mental health care utilizing a patient-facing mobile application and clinician-facing dashboard. Lastly, he is co-founder of the psychiatry entrepreneurship task force at Johns Hopkins, which seeks to promote the entrepreneurial pursuits of faculty within the psychiatry department.


Dr. Paul Kim, MD PhD is an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He received his medical and doctoral degrees from JHU SOM and completed his psychiatry residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He currently serves as an attending physician on the Young Adult Inpatient Service, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Esketamine Clinic, and co-medical director of the Balance program. As a clinician-scientist, he studies the role of neuroinflammation in neurological and psychiatric disorders. In addition to serving as medical director for Balance, he is also a managing editor of the Johns Hopkins POC-IT Psychiatry Guide.




Comprehensive Support Options

Once you complete the initial survey, you’ll be given a variety of next steps to choose from, and the freedom to decide how you want to manage your well-being. Whether it’s access to educational videos, starting a virtual mental health chat, having a conversation with a Balance program-trained Care Concierge or getting connected to an in-network doctor or other specialist, we’ve got you covered so you can get the support you need on your own terms and in your own time.

Bea, Your Digital Assistant

As soon as you complete your Balance survey, our digital assistant, Bea, is available to provide emotional support and check-ins to boost your mental health and well-being. Bea is available 24/7 to connect via text message at your convenience, whenever and wherever you need.

Bea is trained in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy principles and provides unique resources based on your Balance survey results. You can chat with Bea about sensitive topics and receive unbiased emotional support in the moment when you need it most. Bea provides unique resources based on your individual Balance survey results.

Bea is intuitive, confidential, accessible and secure. And Bea is ready whenever you are.

Care Concierge

If your survey results show that you are higher risk in at least one area, a Care Concierge will contact you via the Care Pathways portal to schedule an appointment. The Care Concierge is a licensed behavioral health care professional available to connect by phone or video appointment.

The Care Concierge will work with you to:

  • Review your Balance survey results
  • Identify your mental health needs and well-being goals
  • Create an action plan with you to build coping and resiliency skills
  • Connect you to in-network resources and mental health professionals
  • Follow up to ensure you receive the care and connections you need

This service is confidential and follows the terms of the Johns Hopkins privacy statement. When speaking to a Care Concierge, your personal conversations and individual data collected are not shared with your employer.


Personalized Educational Content

Balance also provides personalized educational content, so every participant can learn how to build new skills on their own time:

  • Personalized tips and resources based on your Balance survey results
  • Context-specific resources for parents and caregivers as well as for adolescents
  • You can choose how you’d like to consume the content – videos, text, audio tips and mindfulness sessions are available 24/7



Clicks on the topics below to learn more about these topics.


The Effects of Stress

Everyone experiences stress in daily life.  And, the very real effects of stress impact our overall health and wellness in a number of ways that can affect every system of our bodies—from the heart and cardiovascular system to the digestive system.  Stress can negatively affect sleep, our moods, and even interfere with relationships and our jobs.

Symptoms of stress include a wide range of physical issues, everything from headaches, heartburn and insomnia to increased colds and infections.  And while it’s important to remember that everyone experiences stress as part of life, it’s also important to know that help in dealing with stress is available.

Tips for Managing Stress

While we can’t always avoid stress in our lives, we can learn to bring those stresses under control. Here are a few tips to help get you started:

  • Take direct action to solve the problem. First, identify the problem, then consider possible solutions and evaluate the pros and cons of each. This will help you determine the best course of action.
  • Get regular exercise. In general, moderate levels of physical activity help relieve stress—aim for 30 minutes a day of moderate-intensity exercise (such as brisk walking) at least 5 days a week.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, some people have trouble sleeping.
    Remember that exercise during the day can help with insomnia. Making a list may also help, or try writing down your thoughts about what’s troubling you early in the evening, then keep activities prior to bedtime restful and relaxing.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. These include such things as deep breathing, meditation, and listening to soft, soothing music. Experiment with these and find what’s best for you.
  • Make time for fun. Sports, hobbies, and socializing offer ways to unwind. Try something new and see which activities appeal to you most.

When is it Depression?

Everyone has their ups and downs in life. That’s only natural. But clinical depression is different from the occasional bout of feeling down. If you are clinically depressed, your sadness will be profound for weeks at a time, almost without relief.

Here are a few questions that can help you tell if this is truly depression:

  • Do you feel deeply sad or hopeless most of the day?
  • Are you much less interested in things that used to interest you?
  • Do you have trouble paying attention or concentrating?
  • Do you feel guilty and bad about yourself?
  • Do you think you’d be better off dead?
  • Do you think about hurting or killing yourself?

If you answered yes to more than one of these questions, or if you answered yes to the last two, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible about how you are feeling.

Depression can be treated with medication and psychological counseling. Even some lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, can help. And while it’s important to know that depression can be a serious disease, it’s also good to know that help is available.


11 Tips for Creating a Healthier Sleep Environment

Did you know that your environment can affect the quality of your sleep? Things like noise or light, an uncomfortable bed, the temperature in the room and movement from bed partners (including pets) can all negatively affect your sleep. The good news is that there are steps you can take to create a healthy sleep environment and build healthy sleep habits.

1.Maintain a clean, inviting bedroom. Messy rooms may make you feel depressed or anxious, which can lead to insomnia. Adding some calming decorations, soft lighting or new pillows can make your room feel more cozy and comfortable.

2. Keep your bedroom temperature at a comfortable level. If it’s too hot or cold, it can disrupt how deeply you sleep. Use a fan, cooling blanket, take a shower 2-3 hours before bed and sleep in cotton pajamas to help regulate your body temperature. In the winter, try using a thicker comforter or an extra blanket to keep warm.

3. Reduce the amount of light in your bedroom at night. Too much light at night can affect when your body naturally feels sleepy and can make it harder to fall asleep. This includes blue light from TVs, laptops, tablets and phones. Keep your lighting dim and soft and sleep with the lights off. Avoid using electronic devices in your bedroom as much as possible, and make sure you turn off any devices like TVs or computers before you try to fall asleep.

4. Expose yourself to bright light or sunlight in the morning and throughout the day. Not getting
enough light during these times can delay when you feel sleepy at night. If you can’t get outside, use a light therapy box in the darker winter months.

5. If you have allergies, reduce allergens in the room to help improve your sleep quality. Try washing or changing your sheets and pillowcases every week, replacing your mattress every 5 years and cleaning carpets regularly, if you have them. Consider purchasing an air purifier for your bedroom to keep allergens low.

6. Keep your pets out of the bed or bedroom if they disrupt your sleep. Pets can contribute to allergies, and their movement can wake you up or affect how deeply you sleep. Give them their own bed where they can sleep separately from you.

7. Make sure your bed is comfortable. Try to avoid sleeping in a chair, on a couch or on the floor, so that your sleep isn’t disrupted. Use bedding such as cotton sheets, which feel cool against your skin. You don’t have to buy a new mattress—a mattress topper or a new pillow can go a long way in making your bed more comfortable.

8. Wear comfortable sleepwear. Put on different clothes to sleep in or don’t wear any to encourage a routine that is different from your daytime activities.

9. Talk to the people who share your bed. If your bed partner is making it hard to get a good night’s sleep, have a conversation to try and identify the issue. There may be a simple solution, such as turning on a fan or buying a new pillow that will help both of you sleep better.

10. Keep your bedroom quiet and minimize noise. If you can hear a lot of sounds outside your room, try using earplugs, a fan or white noise to drown them out.

11. Make sure you feel safe. If you feel anxious about your surroundings, this can affect how deeply you sleep. Invest in a security system or make sure you have a phone near your bed to call for help if you need to.



Relaxation Exercise: Deep Breathing

This technique can result in both better emotional and physical health.

  • Lie on your back to help shift your breathing to a deeper, abdominal breath.
  • Put your hands on your belly and take a deep breath through your mouth or nose. Each time you breathe in, try to push your belly out as much as possible—feel your hands rise as the belly rises. (As opposed to the popular notion that when you take a deep breath you suck in your gut.)
  • Hold that breath for a few seconds and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Try to imagine you’re exhaling through a straw.
  • After that deep breath, take three or four normal breaths.
  • Then take another deep breath.
  • Continue this for 5 to 10 minutes.

At least while you’re still learning, try to practice this form of relaxation during an already quiet time when you’re least stressed.

To learn more about relaxation and meditation, visit the National Institutes of Health website:



Boosting Your Mood with Exercise

  • Regular exercise has effects that can boost mood, relieve depression and stress, and increase your self-esteem.
  • Repetitive movements like those used in walking, running, swimming, or cycling increase production of serotonin (the chemical in the brain whose decline is linked to depression). You don’t have to be a marathon runner…all you need is a regular program of aerobic exercise.
  • Regular exercise is an effective way to decrease blood levels of stress hormones such as cortisol. High levels of these hormones have been linked to depression and anxiety symptoms.
  • Intense exercise triggers endorphins—“runners high” comes from the release of endorphins, which produces a sense of well-being and suppresses sensations of pain. Endorphin production usually begins about 15 to 20 minutes into an exercise session, and tends to peak after about 45 minutes.

Additional Resources

Center for Workplace Mental Health

National Institute of Mental Health

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Council for Behavioral Health

Veterans & Families – Mental Health Resources

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)


What To Expect

What can you expect when you participate in Balance? View the video for a brief introduction.