5 Reasons Why Mental Health Apps Are the Future of Well-Being in the Workplace

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In today’s fast-paced and demanding world, it’s no surprise that mental health has become a prevalent concern affecting employees across industries. Personal and professional stressors, along with the multitude of factors in our hectic world, can cause burnout, depression, anxiety, and chronic health problems.

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • According to the World Health Organization, approximately 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression, and anxiety disorders affect an estimated 301 million individuals.
  • The American Institute of Stress indicates job stress costs US employers more than $300 billion annually due to lost productivity, absenteeism, and accidents.

This staggering prevalence poses a challenge for employers, but it also presents an opportunity for innovative solutions. 

Technology has revolutionized many aspects of our lives, including our attitudes toward mental health and well-being. We have seen an explosion in the development of mental health apps, and the benefits they bring to businesses and individuals are vast.

According to Deloitte, in 2021, there were over 20,000 mental health apps, with new apps being added to the list regularly.  Mental health apps are more critical now than ever before, as they help to support employees’ mental health in the workplace.

Boost Employee Mental Wellbeing
Download 50 of the best mental health apps available,
complete with descriptions and links to share with your team.

Prevention

Mental health and wellbeing technology is not just designed for serious mental health issues. It is designed to help people learn techniques and tools to maintain a healthy lifestyle and improve their overall well-being. Unfortunately, many people were never explicitly taught critical life skills such as emotional intelligence, stress management, and evidence-based practices to develop sustainable wellness.  

The power of these apps is that they are designed to prevent mental health issues from developing into more severe problems such as burnout. For individuals who work in high-stress environments, these apps can provide an essential tool to sustain their well-being. The app’s features can create a healthy habit of prioritizing self-care, leading to long-term benefits such as increased resilience, improved emotional regulation, and better overall mental health.

Apps provide a range of approaches. Some use mood-tracking tools or AI-powered algorithms to detect changes in behavior or mood patterns that could indicate the onset of a mental health condition. Others offer guided meditations or breathing exercises that can help reduce stress and anxiety in real time.  For example, Headspace is an app that provides guided meditation and mindfulness exercises to help users focus on breathing, relaxation, and stress reduction techniques. The app has been proven to reduce stress, anxiety and improve focus and productivity. Similarly, Calm provides guided meditations, sleep stories, and breathing exercises to help users manage stress and enhance sleep quality.

Mental health and well-being apps can be invaluable for businesses, too, as they promote a culture of wellness and create a supportive work environment. Providing employees access to these apps can lower absenteeism and higher productivity. From a business perspective, investing in employee mental health is an investment in the company’s overall success.

Mental-health-apps

5 Reasons Why Mental Health Apps Are the Future of Workplace Wellbeing 

The mental health epidemic gripping the world is not just a personal one but a massive problem affecting workplaces and businesses.

High-stress levels and burnout have negative consequences for employees and companies alike. However, investing in employees’ mental health with resources, including mental health apps, increases productivity, a happier workforce, reduced absenteeism, and higher employee retention.

Here’s why mental health apps are the future of workplace well-being:

#1 Accessibility

In today’s fast-paced world, where we’re constantly on the go, finding time for self-care and mental wellness can be challenging. Mental health apps provide a new level of accessibility to mental health support by allowing individuals to take control of their mental health journey by themselves. For example, in a 2019 Ginger study, 80% of employees indicated they would be more likely to use an emotional or mental health employment benefit if it was available via phone. 

With just a few clicks on your mobile device, you can access various self-help exercises, quizzes, and assessments and even talk to qualified therapists without leaving your home or office. 

This increased access to mental health resources means that employees can take control of their mental health, manage their symptoms, and seek help earlier. Early intervention is key in mental health and can save time and money.

#2 Customization

With mental health apps, employees can receive treatment tailored to their needs and preferences. Many apps offer customized mental wellness programs curated according to specific mental health goals, such as reducing stress and anxiety, improving overall mental health, and increasing productivity. 

These programs are flexible and can be individualized according to goals and feedback from the user, making the experience truly personalized and further enhancing effectiveness. AI is only getting started and will predictably be transformative customizability for future stress, burnout, and mental health applications. 

personal-development-accelerator

#3 Cost-effective

Mental health services can be expensive and are not always covered by medical insurance. Mental health apps provide an economical option for individuals to maintain their mental wellness. Many apps are free, while others offer packages and subscriptions that provide unlimited access to experts and wellness programs, making mental wellness an accessible commodity.

Using an app can reduce not only travel costs to receive care but as a preventative tool can also reduce stress, burnout, mental health issues, and related costs when we do nothing, such as healthcare, unemployment, fractured relationships, and financial strain. 

#4 Confidentiality

Mental health apps offer increased confidentiality and anonymity. According to a study by Deloitte, almost 25% of employees do not manage their mental health symptoms out of fear of what it would do to their image. In addition, employees may be more open and honest about their mental health concerns when using a mental health app as they are not concerned about being seen in a waiting room or the therapist’s office.

#5 Improved Productivity

Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression immensely affect work productivity, ultimately negatively impacting both the business and the employee. Mental health apps can help boost productivity by providing tools, tips, and techniques that help manage mental health more effectively. With an increased focus on mental wellness and better mental health, productivity is bound to improve.

Potential Drawbacks

As with any emerging technology, there are also potential downsides to be aware of. Mental health apps do not replace real-life therapy or a medical diagnosis. Nor should they be a standalone treatment for severe mental health conditions. Instead, they complement or support regular therapy by allowing individuals to manage and track their mental health symptoms over time.

Boost Employee Mental Wellbeing
Download 50 of the best mental health apps available,
complete with descriptions and links to share with your team.

The mental health crisis is real and needs to be addressed. One of the most promising tools available is technology, and its impact is not limited to patient care. While technology is not a panacea, it can be an effective tool in preventing and treating mental health issues.

Technologies like mental health apps have the potential to reduce costs, make mental health resources more accessible, and promote positive mental health outcomes. However, as with any uncharted territory, caution and awareness about the potential drawbacks are necessary.

Ultimately, as we move forward with this technology, we must remember that mental health is a community and public health issue. We can create a more supportive and healthy society using these tools and considering the vast potential for mental health tech.

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Jennifer Ulie, Ph.D.

Jennifer Ulie, Ph.D.

2x Founder, CEO, Motivational Speaker, Author, Teacher, PhD, and Geek about holistic health and evidence-based practices to help people unlock the best parts of themselves again. Follow @mymensana.

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