Our Ongoing Research

Online methods used to monitor employee mental well-being. A comparison to traditional support systems.

With such widespread use of the internet and use of mobile apps (globally), online solutions have the potential to increase reach, effectiveness and regularity of mental well-being checks in comparison to traditional support systems. In this research paper we will contrast and compare traditional systems to online systems in the detection and support of employee mental well-being. We will be using the online ClickCheck platform as our online method.

It is estimated that over 264 million people worldwide suffer from a form of depression (SL James, D Abate, KH Abate, et al., 2017). Depression and suicide have traumatic emotional effects on the family, friends and colleagues of those effected. There are also significant economic losses. In Australia alone there is a reported $11 billion dollars lost annually due to loss of productivity (PWC, 2014).

The need for increased employee mental support is becoming apparent. Studies done on US medical students show physicians (training) and physicians (practicing) are at risk of significant burn out, with prevalence exceeding 50% (Rothenberger, 2017). A study conducted by Amiri & Behnezhad (2020) also found that job strain was found to be a risk factor for morality (especially in men). It was found by Topa, Depolo & Alcover (2018) that mental health also played a role in early retirement. Similar evidence of this was found by Paradise et al. (2012) which concluded depression was a factor resulting in early exit from the work force. All of these factors decrease productivity and negatively impacting the employee’s life and the company they work for (economically).

ClickCheck is an automated system which sends out an online well-being quiz every two weeks. Two weeks was chosen as depression is defined by symptoms including persistent depressed mood/loss of interest for at least two weeks (World Health Organisation, 2016). The system is fully automated. Once a user completes a quiz the system scores it and if the score is below a threshold, an alert is triggered. The software also analyses the answers given to let the person in charge of employee well-being know exactly what kind of issues are at hand.

References:

Paradise, M., Naismith, S., Davenport, T., Hickie, I., & Glozier, N. (2012). The impact of gender on early ill-health retirement in people with heart disease and depression. Australian & New Zealand Journal Of Psychiatry, 46(3), 249-256. doi: 10.1177/0004867411427807

PricewaterhouseCooper (2014). Creating a mentally health workplace: Return on investment. National Mental Health Commission. Productivity Commission (2010). Performance benchmarking of Australian business regulation: Occupational health & safety. Canberra: Productivity Commission of Australia

Rothenberger, D. (2017). Physician Burnout and Well-Being. Diseases Of The Colon & Rectum, 60(6), 567-576. doi: 10.1097/dcr.0000000000000844

SL James, D Abate, KH Abate, et al. (2017). Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet, 392 (2018), pp. 1789-1858

Topa, G., Depolo, M., & Alcover, C. (2018). Early Retirement: A Meta-Analysis of Its Antecedent and Subsequent Correlates. Frontiers In Psychology, 8. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.02157

Extract from on-going research

Online methods used to monitor student mental well-being. A comparison to traditional support systems.

With such widespread use of the internet and use of mobile apps (globally), online mental well-being solutions have the potential to increase reach, effectiveness and regularity of support in comparison traditional systems. In this research paper we will contrast and compare traditional systems to online systems in the detection and support of student mental well-being. We will be using the online ClickCheck platform as our online method.

Depression significantly impairs a student’s ability to perform as well as putting the student at risk of self-harm. University students often travel out of other home cities/countries, introducing additional stress factors (such as distance from family and increased independence). In comparison to high schools, universities are much larger in size with a significant increase in students resulting in interactions with lecturers, of which a single paper may have 5, not being as personal (e.g. a year group of 10,000 university students vs a high school class of 30). This decrease in personal relationships with staff members could make it harder for students to seek support. Especially for international students whom may already be struggling to adapt to their new environment and also deal with tertiary level academic work.

Traditional support pathways are focused on a student approaching an individual they (most likely) have never met or spoken to before and divulging sensitive, personal information which in itself can be a very daunting task. It was reported by Mainous et. al (2001) that the more trust (via greater continuity) a patient has with a physician, the greater level of healthcare received. Seeing as universities have thousands of students, the development of personal relationships is unrealistic. It paves the way for developing trust through an online support system which can be implemented on a large scale.

According to The Ministry of Health (2016) youth aged between 15 and 24 had the highest rate of suicide with males being twice as likely as females. This strengthens the need to implement support systems focusing on this vulnerable age group.

ClickCheck provides an online system which can be deployed at very large scales. The platform sends out check-up emails on a regular basis to students with questions designed specifically around mental-wellbeing. The system then calculates a score based on the student’s answers and generates a score. If a score is under a certain value an alert is triggered. This also increases support for international students who may not be confident with English not being their first language.

A widespread online system focusing on depression has the potential to save lives. The nature of online reporting means that underlying issues are potentially easier to report, negating the need to verbally seek assistance which can be a very daunting an emotional process. As with other health conditions, the earlier support can be obtained for mental health issues, the more positive the outcome.

Our lives have become significantly dependant on computers (the internet) and mobile apps. It is estimated that 4.5 billion people have access to the internet (Internet World Stats, 2019). Such integration of technology within our daily lives has created a perfect environment for online well-being measures to be implemented. With such widespread use/dependency on electronic mediums, an online based platform has the potential to increase availability, reach and effectiveness in comparison to traditional support systems.

References:

Internet World Stats. (2019). Usage population and statistics. Retrieved March 31, 2019 from http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats.htm.

Mainous, A. G., Baker, R., Love, M. M., Gray, D. P. and Gill, J. M. (2001). Continuity of care and trust in one’s physician: Evidence from primary care in the United States and the United Kingdom. Family Medicine, 33, 22–27.

Ministry of Health. (2020). Suicide Facts: 2016 data (provisional). Retrieved 2 April 2020, from https://www.health.govt.nz/publication/suicide-facts-2016-data-provisional

World Health Organisation. (2016). MhGAP intervention guide for mental, neurological and substance use disorders in non-specialized health settings. Geneva: World health organization.

Extract from on-going research