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Is AI The Future of Workplace Mental Health?

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When we talk about workplace mental health there’s normally three keywords that crop up over and over again – Employee Assistance Programmes or EAPs. Now, these are nothing new. These portals have been sitting on corporate systems for years offering a one stop shop for all kinds of employee benefits and perks. 

 

Recently, firms and organisations have been adding mental health apps, therapy sessions and general health and wellbeing solutions to these EAPs as the next level of employee benefits. However, in providing mental health or mental fitness support in this way, there is a limit to what can be achieved.

 

Normally, a business will choose one or two interventions maximum, and as they sit on this workplace system, it’s often assumed that the mental health offering, and the subsequent data, is connected to the businesses platform. In doing so, there is a lack of reassurance between the business and employees that they’re going to be given the necessary safe space to work on their own mental health without having their anonymity compromised – even if this is the case.

 

Anonymity is the cornerstone of positive mental health progress.

 

A person’s journey is their own and they have to feel safe and unjudged so they can be open and honest about what is going on and what needs to changed. 

 

If they’re scared that their employer is getting reporting data or can access their progress, then the uptake is going to be low and it’s not going to be an effective mental health intervention. It’s a waste of money for the employer and it’s a waste of time for the employee.

 

That’s the first thing. You need a mental health intervention that needs to be away from workplace systems and work emails. Secondly, the problem with EAP mental health solutions is that there is just one kind of solution designed to suit everyone. 

 

Normally, this is either a meditation app or a subsidised face-to-face therapy session or a journaling app. Now, all of these interventions have their merits for the right person, however, mental health is not one size fits all. Offering just one of these solutions is not a comprehensive option for your employees.

 

On the other hand, offering multiple mental health inventions on one looks like a convoluted HR strategy that your employees are bombarded with and ends up being most expensive for you as a company. 

 

The solution?

 

Utilising artificial intelligence to tailor your interventions to the needs of your people.

 

AI has plenty of uses across multiple industries and disciplines in order to anticipate our needs and generally try and make our lives easier. Artificial intelligence has already been used in tech like Spotify, Netflix and YouTube where it curates content that it thinks the user might enjoy based on previous content they’ve watched or listened to. So, it makes sense that this kind of convenience and intelligence is making its way into the mental health space. However, with mental health AI, it’s less of what the user likes to do, it’s what they need to do.

 

Leafyard, a new mental health web app that utilises behavioural science, recognises that we’re all different and different techniques work for different people. Leafyard’s in-built artificial intelligence works with the user to uncover problems and reveal areas for improvement.

 

Leafyard’s artificial intelligence calculates adaptive strategies for the individual and guidance switches from CBT, mindfulness, exercise, diet, sleep, journaling, visualisation and much, much more. The artificial intelligence is also clever enough to control the strength of guidance, offering appropriate levels of care and support to users.

 

This combination of covering many different strategies, techniques and avenues – all of which are scientifically proven to improve mental health – together with the AI that directs the user on the best path specifically for them, helps to solve the problem created by the lack of choice on workplace EAPs. Additionally, by operating through gift tokens that can be registered from any email address, Leafyard allows workplaces to offer mental health solutions while still maintaining anonymity and separation from workplace systems.   

 

Fundamentally, successful, versatile workplace mental health solutions are rooted in the ability to adapt and adjust and – crucially – maintain anonymity. Anything less than this is not going to be fit for purpose long term. When it comes to adaptability and making sure solutions stay up to date, AI is the way forward and the least time and effort intensive way of making it work. 

 

The world is changing in unexpected ways and the demands of modern life pull and push us in all directions. Your team is crying out for help and support but it’s often difficult to see the wood for the trees. 

 

Working from home, balancing office and family life, not looking after ourselves – These things weigh heavy on our minds, clouding our judgement and making it difficult to see a way ahead. Stress and anxiety have become the norm and without the guidance to balance us out, we grow tired, fearful and depressed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Science has proven that there are ways we can make ourselves feel better, we just have to take action.

 

By taking meaningful action, as businesses, we’re showing our people that we actually want to help, not that we’re just ticking a box to seem like we care.