Mental Health: Using Digital Tools for Wellness

We’ve talked about mental health in the new remote or hybrid working model, so we know that mental health isn’t something to be ignored. As businesses and managers look towards adding to or supplementing their wellness programs, they should consider utilizing digital tools and apps. The ubiquity of personal digital devices like smartphones, fitness trackers, tablets, and so on — has enabled many wellness programs to shift to digital or virtual avenues. In fact, they now account for the majority of employer-sponsored health offerings. 

The Case for Digital Solutions 

On a large scale, digital solutions can offer more therapeutic approaches and support and enforce positive behaviors. Because they are accessible at any time and from anywhere, they can provide help on demand without the long waits often needed for in-person services. In addition, they are convenient, easy to use, and anonymous. 

Their greatest advantage is that they allow employees to make the decision as to how they want to engage with their aid. People who are experiencing mental health problems may struggle to seek help because they often try to solve their problems on their own. Digital solutions give these individuals the opportunity to seek help and get it early before the issue becomes acute. And because of their accessibility, there’s less of a barrier to overcome when trying to get help. There’s no need to leave the comfort of your own home or have to see someone in-person.   

Research has found that occupational digital mental health interventions had a statistically significant effect on both psychological well-being and work effectiveness. More and more people are also becoming more open to digital health services. 46% of patients would choose to receive mental health appointments virtually, while Gen Zs are more than four times more likely than Baby Boomers to prefer virtual care over in-person care.  

How They Come into Play  

There are different ways digital solutions can be implemented into your existing wellness program. Biomarkers is a common one. These include wearable devices and apps that can collect physiological data. Examples include a smartwatch that tracks your heart rate, temperature and other bodily activities or an app where you can track your mood and journal your thoughts. This data collection can help employers target services. In instances where employees report persistent low moods, the app may give advice, suggest taking some time off, or provide them with options to seek out professionals.   

You may also choose to use third-party solutions providers. These come in various forms such as prevention chatbots and use a range of techniques. Providers can conduct anonymous surveys on the well-being of your workforce, and aggregate data on the effectiveness of support offerings. These findings can be linked to productivity and the analytically driven solutions can help you identify employees at risk and refer them to support services. 

If you’re seeking to improve the well-being of your team, learning about the digital solutions available can help you identify suitable strategies to integrate into your wellness programs and broader workplace support options. Appropriate use of digital tools and virtual care can help us effectively meet the mental health needs of more of us than ever before.