If you’ve experienced work-related stress, you’re not alone. A 2016 study by Harvard University on Workplace and Health found that 20% of working adults said they had experienced a “great deal of stress” at work during the previous 12 months, and 37% said they had experienced “some stress.”
The study also found that certain groups are prone to work stress more than others. Workers with dangerous jobs, workers who must care for a sick family member while working, and workers who are ill or disabled themselves experience stress at higher levels than some others. Also, those with low-paying jobs, those who have financial worries, those working restaurant jobs, and those who work more than 50 hours a week at their main job also experience high levels of stress.
Workers who don’t fall in these categories still experience levels of stress at work. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) reports that studies find job stress is the major source of stress for adult Americans. This job-related stress is associated with “increased rates of heart attack, hypertension, and other disorders.” Their findings are even greater than Harvard’s findings, citing that 80 percent of workers feel stress on the job. Half of those workers say they need help in learning how to manage their stress.
To help alleviate stress for employees, many companies and their human resource teams are turning to mental health mobile apps to offer stress management and contribute to the overall mental health wellbeing of their employees.
What are the benefits of a mental health app?
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that 61% of workers say their productivity is affected by their mental health issues, and 37% of workers say their work environment contributed to their mental health issues. Not only does this stress affect workers, it can affect an organization’s overall wellbeing.
AIS reports that over 1 million people call out of work each day because of work related stress. Unanticipated absenteeism disrupts productivity and costs employers money, an estimated $601 per worker per year.
Encouraging the use of a mental health app for employees will not only benefit individual worker’s mental health and wellbeing which in turn benefits the whole team’s mental health, it may also benefit the financial health of the company as a whole.
Another benefit of using mental health apps, particularly those that send reports to the human resource department, is the ease of communication the apps afford. HR professionals can see where the biggest mental health issues lie within their employees and create programs that address those issues directly.
What to consider when choosing a mental health app
SHRM says there are several things to consider when choosing a mental health app for the workplace.
Do some research. HR professionals, or whomever is choosing the app, should ask the app provider for “references from organizations with similar employee demographics (based on workers’ age, geographic location, gender, job type, etc.) to get a better idea of how likely the app is to resonate with employees.”
Pick a partner, not just an app. Consider how well the app provider will partner with a company. Those choosing an app should look at security measures, the credentials of the developers and their advisors, pricing and service fees, performance guarantee options, metrics that measure success, account management support and communication tools.
Keep the users in mind. Those using the app must be considered during the decision making process also. Look at how individualized and personalized an experience the app offers and how it then supports users based on the findings of that personalized experience.
Top mental health apps for the workplace
There are several apps designed to promote good mental health in the workplace. This overview of a handful of them includes suggestions for companies with various budgets.
Spring Health. The Spring Health mobile app allows people to take a quick, guided mental health assessment and matches them with a dedicated care navigator to help them get the care they need. The mental health app also allows people to easily book appointments with therapists and psychiatrists.
The app’s Moments feature is a library of digital exercises that empowers each Spring Health member with on-demand, unlimited access to tools for emotional and mental wellbeing. Moments includes exercises that assist in building relationships, combating depression, managing anxiety, tackling eating issues and other mental wellness topics.
Users of Moments have reported an 87% reduction in anxiety symptoms, a 40% reduction in eating disorder symptoms, and a 30% immediate reduction in symptoms across all conditions the feature addresses.
Headspace for Work. The meditations and exercises on Headspace address mental health issues such as stress, sleep problems and anxiety. They’re designed to be done at work, preferably at the same time each day to become a habit and increase productivity.
Calm for Business. Calm for Business is an app that offers stories, music, and meditations to help users sleep better at night. It also has exercises —such as breathing exercises—to reduce stress, build resilience, increase focus and creativity, and relax the mind and body at work and at home.
Flourish DX. The Flourish DX app collects and reports employee mental health assessments to health and safety professionals and human resource professionals. Employees can use the self-care knowledge and skill development that the app offers to become aware of mental health issues and how to get help for them. HR professionals can use the data collected to help employees stay mentally healthy and optimize their wellbeing.
Fabulous for Work. Fabulous for Work reminds users to implement the habits that will help them gain benefits such as increased energy, more focus or improved sleep. Throughout the day, reminders pop up for daily rituals such as “drink water” and “stretch.” It also helps them set the day and keep them on track to achieve their goals.
The Five Minute Journal. The Five Minute Journal asks users the same five questions each day: three morning questions and two at the end of the day. Questions such as “What am you grateful for?” help users find a sense of gratitude, purpose and empowered beliefs.
Insight Timer. Insight Timer offers 60,000 free guided meditations in 30 languages. One of the categories on Insight Timer is “workplace” with many meditations under 10 minutes that focus on categories such as meeting preparation, de-stressing at work, releasing anger, and leading with purpose.
While a mental health app may be all the support that some employees need for workplace wellbeing, others may require added care, whether that is a therapist, a psychiatrist, an in-patient treatment program, or a care navigator to connect them with the exact level and type of support they need. Spring Health can partner with your organization to match each of your team members with the right level of care. Contact us to find out how Spring Health can support the mental health of your workforce.