Mental health app’s high engagement levels

Great news - the mental health app ‘Thrive: Mental Wellbeing’ – available to employees through our Group Income Protection proposition – continues to generate high levels of employee engagement.

Our GIP app and NHS standards

Long-term absence for mental health conditions can create additional overheads for businesses because an employee’s rehabilitation can consume substantial time and resources. That’s where Group Income Protection (GIP) can help. First, there’s financial assistance if they are unable to work. Next, there’s the rehabilitation services and practical support provided to help get them back on track. The final part of the equation is the preventative aspect, provided by our choice of digital mental health app, which is designed to build cognitive skills and behaviours which can improve wellbeing.

Apps like Thrive: Mental Wellbeing (1) are growing in popularity at a time when open discussions about mental health issues have become more culturally acceptable. What’s more, many apps are assessed by NHS Digital (2), adding a degree of certainty for employers looking to select a product and benefits that will best support their employees. The NHS requires hard evidence about clinical safety, security and technical stability when assessing such apps. And as the tool gets improved or modified, it goes back through reassessment (3). Thrive: Mental Wellbeing is currently one of 20 mental health apps which are tried and tested by the NHS.

High usage for our selected app

Thrive: Mental Wellbeing is an evidence-based app designed to help users keep on top of their mental wellbeing and help prevent and manage stress, anxiety, and other common mental health conditions. The app helps track a user’s emotions, linking them to situations that could be the cause, records feelings and offers tools and techniques to manage situations. And it’s all completely confidential. 

We examined six months’ data (4) from employers who offer Aviva GIP as part of their benefits package. For these businesses, all their employees will have access to the app, even those who are not covered by a policy of their own. 

The results showed a high level of engagement, to the extent that around four in ten employees were regular users. 

Three key takeaways from the research

  1. out of 15,454 individual downloads, 37.4% use the app at least twice a week for eight minutes a session or more (active users)
  2. of the active users, 38% screened positive for depression and 45% for anxiety
  3. 40% of the total user population sought more help, either through the app, the EAP services or seeking outside help

The latter figure refers to employees who have either contacted external support (such as their EAP) through the app, or who have reported seeking help themselves. Finally, the report showed that ‘problems at work’ was identified as the most common stressor by employees. Within this category, feeling isolated, being put on the spot, feeling criticised and issues with their bosses were the main causes of concern. This is extremely useful information for organisations and highlights the importance of training line managers to be aware of their impact. For example, these results could indicate the need for an organisation to review its flexible working arrangements or introduce initiatives to help solitary workers feel part of the team. There are pros and cons to every adjustment in workplace processes, and for many businesses it could be time to consider the potential mental health impact of major changes.

For many people, the workplace is fundamentally different from even ten years previously, with greater automation, changing shift patterns and the digitisation of almost every aspect of certain working environments. In addition, workers face a financial squeeze generated by high UK housing and childcare costs. Add that to the impact of social media and a 24/7 blizzard of information and it creates a perfect storm of mental pressure. 

All these reasons add up to why the Thrive: Mental Wellbeing app is such an important part of our GIP proposition, as the results show. 

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  1. Thrive Therapeutic Software Ltd
  2. NHS Digital Apps Library
  3. NHS Digital Apps Library - assessments
  4. Research by Thrive Therapeutic Software Ltd commissioned by Aviva (1 April 2019 to 31 October 2019)

GR02261 12/2019