Thrive in partnership with Northern Ireland Office!

Employee mental health is a growing concern within numerous different sectors given that 300,000 people with a long term mental health problem lose their jobs each year (at a much higher rate than those with physical health conditions.) This statistic alone makes it vital that organisations and employers are able to create and maintain a working environment where stress and other negative mental health problems are at a minimum. Mental health not only impacts your employees’ health and happiness, but also affects their productivity and effectiveness at work as a whole. Focusing on the issue of employee well-being is good for employees, companies and society at large. Yet, with the situation apparent, few have managed to come up with a plan to support their staff and their emotional well-being.

70 million working days are lost per year due to mental health problems, but what if line managers and employers knew the early signs of common mental health conditions and took a preventative approach? While there are more people at work with mental health conditions than ever before, research shows that around 15% of people at work have symptoms of an existing mental health condition. So what is being done about the employee mental health crisis?

“Many employers are already creating healthy, inclusive workplaces, but more needs to be done so that employers provide the support needed for employees with mental health conditions.” - Prime Minister Theresa May, January 2017

It is extremely important that employers and managers are able to start the conversation surrounding mental health comfortably, especially since 1 in 3 employees has suffered or is currently suffering from a diagnosed mental health condition, yet most of them are unwilling to speak openly about what they are going through. If enough managers are educated on the issues surrounding employee well-being, maybe the stigma will be reduced and the people who need support, will seek it.

Northern Ireland Office have taken the innovative approach of supporting their employees by partnering with Thrive who specialise in the detection, prevention and treatment for common mental health conditions through digital intervention. Northern Ireland Office wanted to ensure employees had easy and direct access to the support the organisation offers, as and when they need it. With the Thrive app, they have 24/7 access to the support the company offers through the support box within the app & the activities within the app itself to help them.

Thrive: Feel Stress Free is an app developed and created by UK leading Psychiatrists and Psychologists which uses clinically proven, evidenced-based techniques for the prevention, detection and treatment of common mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and mild depression. Research has shown that for those who screened positive for mild-moderate anxiety and/or depression, 96% of them ‘recover’ within 8 weeks of using Thrive: Feel Stress Free. It has also been shown to significantly accelerate depression recovery time, working the same as some anti-depressants without the side effects. There are three main aspects of Thrive: Feel Stress Free, including prevention, detection and treatment. The app also includes 24/7 support and is available when and where employees may need it.

The prevention: The app encourages support seeking behaviour and detects issues before they become too severe. Thrive is not for the 1 in 4 struggling with their mental wellbeing, it is for the 4 in 4 of us that need to care for our mental wellbeing and cope with life's daily stresses. The exercises within the app, mood tracking and systems all prevent mental health conditions occurring.

The detection: The detection aspect is done by using PHQ9/GAD7 quiz to analyse a user's mental wellbeing, from this daily screen the app can determine if a user is suffering with anxiety and or depression. Users will be then recommended a personalised plan within the app and directed to the right support within the club to improve their mental wellbeing.

The treatment: The app consists of many forms of treatment, from mindfulness/breathing techniques to distraction therapy. The four relaxation techniques are calm breathing, meditation, deep muscle relaxation and applied relaxation - meaning there should be something for everyone. Each of the techniques are evidence-based, clinically proven and used in real life therapy to help manage common mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety and mild depression.

Together, Northern Ireland Office and Thrive have the ability to allow line managers to identify key signs of poor mental well-being and allow employees to manage their mental health through digital intervention. Could 2018 be the year where employee mental health is finally prioritised?  For more information visit nio.thrive.uk.com

Sam GlassComment