Employers for many decades have sought to promote the ideal work environment and achieve optimal productivity. Different strategies have been used over time to help achieve this. However, it has become increasingly apparent that employee mental wellness plays a significant role in accomplishing such goals. This has prompted many companies to explore opportunities to enhance their staff’s mental health. And one of the latest trends involves the use of mental health and wellness apps. A number of such apps now exist, and an increasing number of businesses are adopting them. Not only do such apps improve productivity and performance, but it’s also the right thing to do from the standpoint of ethical and social responsibility.
Since the pandemic, it has become evident that poor mental health is much more common than previously appreciated. Stress, poor sleep, and anxiety affect a sizable portion of the workforce. If these issues go unattended, employees become less engaged and less productive. This is why mental health and wellness apps have become more popular recently among corporations. Many companies offer these apps to their employees as a means to assist them with key issues and improve employee mental wellness. But the more recent apps expand these services to provide companies an overview of their company’s mental health environment. These data-focused platforms are taking mental health and wellness apps to a new level. And it’s one that could be the blueprint for corporate success in the future.
The Appeal of Mental Health and Wellness Apps
In an effort to understand why mental health and wellness apps are so attractive, one only needs to examine health statistics. In the U.S. currently, it is estimated that more than half suffer from significant stress that affects their wellbeing. A third struggle with symptoms of anxiety and/or sleep-related difficulties. And one in 20 have overt depression for which clinical care should be provided. Regardless of what sector or industry, these statistics provide evidence that much of the workforce struggles with mental health issues. And in order to achieve better workforce performance, companies have to invest in employee mental wellness. This isn’t easy, especially since mental health issues have social stigma that discourages many from seeking care. This is where mental health and wellness apps come into play.
Though the use of these platforms is relatively new overall, there has been clear benefits noted. Companies are much more likely to invest in these applications today because of these benefits. In addition to enhancing employee mental health and wellness, improved employee productivity on average has been realized. Access to these mental health and wellness apps also reduce absenteeism, boost employee satisfaction, and increase staff retention. These efforts also create a more positive workplace culture by demonstrating company support of employee wellbeing. In turn, this makes it easier to recruit additional talent when needed and increases the chances of corporate success. In this regard, these strategies offer a clear win-win for companies.
“I think that as a digital mental healthcare provider, we have such a responsibility to be studying outcomes and making sure that we’re getting people better faster … It’s not just one and you’re better.” – Katie DiPerna Cook, Senior Vice President of Partnerships, Headspace Health
Top Corporate Mental Health Apps Today
When it comes to mental health and wellness apps, several exist today on the market from which to choose. In fact, there are hundreds of such apps that companies may select when striving to achieve better employee mental wellness. For example, Headspace is a common platform that has a primary focus on meditation and mindfulness. By offering mini-meditations, it helps address mental health issues involving stress, insomnia, and anxiety. Headspace recently merged with Ginger, another such app, to form Headspace Health. Calm is another mental health app that many businesses employ. It has a large library of content that includes meditation, breathing, and stretching exercises as well as relaxation techniques. And Moodfit provides mood tracking, cognitive behavioral therapy exercises, and goal setting as part of its platform. These are just a few of the more popular mental wellness apps used today.
With so many mental health and wellness apps on the market, it can be challenging for companies to know which is best. Recent surveys of such apps show that the vast majority lack evidence-based science backing in their approach. Even fewer monitor user improvements over time. And almost none provide companies with data that suggests where targeted improvements are needed. In addition, there has been reported concerns about how some mental health and wellness apps could pose privacy threat risks to users. Such platforms certainly do not have employee mental wellness as a primary goal. Instead, their focus is gaining as many subscriptions as possible and receiving ad revenue dollars. These are the types of apps that companies should avoid if they expect to reap potential advantages of employee mental wellness.
“Our mission is really to ask ourselves what we can do to democratize mental health, destigmatize this topic and really put technology, data and science at the service of mental health, obviously to help employees, but also to build healthier organizations.” – Julia Néel Biz CEO of Teale
A Data-Driven Approach to Employee Mental Wellness
In contrast to past approaches to employee mental wellness, newer apps are embracing a more comprehensive strategy. One such company is Teale, a French startup that recently received $11 million in Series A funding. Despite a rough venture capital climate, Teale was able to attract investors based on its dual approach. On the one hand, it offers an extensive mental health content library to employees of over 1,000 audio and video units. However, Teale also provides companies with a broad overview of their company’s employee mental wellness status. If companies have at least 20 employees using the app, then they can help identify issues. This might involve managerial issues, staffing problems, or lack of needed supports.
In smoothing over the gap between mental health problems and employee mental wellness, Teale is helping companies excel. This extended approach is why over 100 companies are already using Teale instead of other mental health and wellness apps. And its why they are receiving funding supports in a down economy. These are the kinds of mental health disruptors needed in today’s current mental health environment.