With advances in technology, accessing resources and support around mental health and wellbeing is easier now more than ever. The market is flooded with choice for Apps and platforms on how to look after your mental health from mindfulness, stress reduction, anxiety, sleep, mood, suicide awareness to even virtual therapy. But what should organisations be looking out for and how can one choose a digital solution to support employees where they are currently at on their mental health journey?
The pro’s of digital mental health support
With the rise of wellbeing apps around cyber space, there are numerous tools and resources at your fingertips. One of the most beneficial aspects of digital mental health support, whether it is an app or online platform, is the ability to breakdown the traditional barriers for reaching out for support either in the form of therapy, or simply gaining psychoeducation. Some of the key benefits to digital mental health and wellbeing solutions include:
- Increased accessibility – consumers are no longer bound by having to outlay significant sums of money for therapy or self-help courses, travel to appointments or even carve out large amounts of time for appointments. By breaking down accessibility barriers, consumers who were previously unable to access mental health support now have the ability of accessing telehealth therapy from the comfort of their own homes, as well as learn about strategies and solutions for improving mental health and wellbeing.
- Functionality – when comparing the different wellbeing solutions on the market, make sure functionality and UX (user experience) are at the forefront. The platform should be intuitive and easy to navigate, whilst encouraging you to come back and use it when you need. If you don’t reach for it to gain information or to use its features, what’s the point?
- Breadth of features – what does the App or platform offer users? Is it more targeted towards one concept e.g. mindfulness? Or does is span across the whole wellbeing continuum? For example, the Centre for Corporate Health’s App the Resilience Box contains over 750 pieces of content on a range of mental health and wellbeing topics, a customisable goal setting feature, short online learning modules, a daily mood check-in, access to psychologists for 1:1 counselling via the organisation’s Employee Assistance Program, interactive resources to accompany counselling and also an inbuilt telehealth platform.
The pitfalls, what to look out for
With ease of accessibility and functionality, also comes areas of concern that need to be considered. It should be acknowledged that digital mental health apps will never replace the need for 1:1 counselling with a professional, but are designed to complement and enhance traditional therapy. When embarking on a digital solution, the key areas to look out for include:
- Pop-psychology vs evidence-based information – where is the information being sourced from? Without quality control during the research and content development process, many Apps and platforms can share information that is not evidence-based or backed by research. Make sure you can clearly see (or request) where the content is being sourced from and who developed it. If not, you run the risk of consuming inaccurate or invalid information which is not beneficial to your mental health.
- Rigid information which can’t be adapted – the information being provided to you via these digital solutions needs to be able to be translated into your everyday life and to your personal situation. Otherwise, it isn’t much use to you! Make sure the resources are relatable to you and can be adapted to different audiences.
- Risk is not addressed – a significant factor is assessing risk for all users on a digital mental health platform. As a duty of care, providers should always assess risk of users, especially apps designed to accompany Employee Assistance Programs or those which contain access to counselling services. When assessing risk, there also needs to be a clear workflow for ensuring when an individual is identified as being “at risk” they receive appropriate and timely support.
The Resilience Box – your digital wellbeing solution
For employers, the Resilience Box is the digital wellbeing solution for your employees. Targeting people across the whole wellbeing continuum, from feeling good and just wanting to learn about wellbeing strategies, to providing individuals with support and guidance if they are struggling with their mental health. Backed by over 20 years of work from the Centre for Corporate Health, and developed by senior psychologists, the Resilience Box is designed to meet individuals where they are on their wellbeing journey.