Managing Mental Well-being in the Workplace: Can Health Tech Help? #1

AXA Health Tech and You 2018 is a series of events, competitions and awards for digital health innovation, now in it’s fourth year.

Each year AXA HTY have run a digital health ‘State of the Nation’ survey with YouGov to discover the latest public opinion on digital health. This year the questions included some specifics on mental health in the workplace, and the findings were discussed at a Round-Table discussion hosted by 2020health and held at Runway East.

In the first of several blogs on the subject, here are some of the findings of the survey.Vessi Ves

  1. About a third of people willing to buy and wear a device that would be an ‘early warning’ system’ for decline in mental health, though over 55s were less likely at 24%. This rises to just over 50% doing so if the employer supplies it, though youngest (18-24s) were most keen at 73%.

[Interestingly very similar figures to question on general health tracker in 2017 AXA HTY Year 3 survey, apart from willingness to engage was higher for general health where employer provided device at 63%.]

It’s possible that this shows lack of value in illness prevention, shown by increase in willingness to monitor if individual not having to pay. Half of population not yet willing to engage (for whatever reason).

Vessi Ves

 

  1. If given the option given of wearing a device, still only about half of respondents were willing to wear it, and less so if they had to pay for it.Vessi Ves
  2. In terms of sharing information if someone was prepared to wear a device, across the age groups half of respondents were happy to share data.

[Slightly less than general health tracker in AXA HTY Year 3 survey].

  1. Of those who did not want to share data, the fears were around discrimination, privacy and trust. Sharing of information with third parties was a particular concern of older workers, whilst not wanting the employer to know about their lifestyle was the biggest concern of  78% of 18-24 year olds!
  2. Interestingly, if the data was anonymized, whilst younger people were more likely to share data (76%), those in older age-groups were slightly less likely to share anonymized data. This could imply that even if anonymized data shared, older workers think it wouldn’t make a difference, or could take too long to see the benefits in the workplace, or personally, from data collection? Vessi Ves
  3. Where a financial incentive was given to wear a tracker, just over half said they would be more likely to wear one. Given that just over half would wear one anyway if the employer supplied it, there was no real difference between the employer supply of a tracker and the employer incentivizing wearing of a tracker.
  4. The figure we are given generally is that one in four people at any one time can be experiencing mental illness. Those questioned revealed that about half (41% and we’ve included don’t knows and no comments) the working population have experienced mental illness at some point (and had had time off work), and nearly half of these had NOT shared tVessi Vesheir symptoms with their employer.
  5. However, what was really encouraging was that of those who had spoken to their employer about their illness, nearly three-quarters had had a helpful, supportive response, although 42% (nearly half) of 18-24 year olds said they hadn’t been supported.
  6. Of those who had taken time off, 18% had taken more than 21 days (none of these were under 24)Vessi Ves

 

About Julia Manning

Julia is a social pioneer, writer and campaigner. She studied visual science at City University and became a member of the College of Optometrists in 1991, later specialising in visual impairment and diabetes. During her career in optometry, she lectured at City University, was a visiting clinician at the Royal Free Hospital and worked with Primary Care Trusts. She ran a domiciliary practice across south London and was a Director of the UK Institute of Optometry. Julia formed 20/20Health in 2006. Becoming an expert in digital health solutions, she led on the NHS–USA Veterans’ Health Digital Health Exchange Programme and was co-founder of the Health Tech and You Awards with Axa PPP and the Design Museum. Her research interests are now in harnessing digital to improve personal health, and she is a PhD candidate in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) at UCL. She is also dedicated to creating a sustainable Whole School Wellbeing Community model for schools that builds relationships, discovers assets and develops life skills. She is a member of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Digital Health Council. Julia has shared 2020health's research widely in the media (BBC News, ITV, Channel 5 News, BBC 1′s The Big Questions & Victoria Derbyshire, BBC Radio 4 Today, PM and Woman's Hour, LBC) and has taken part in debates and contributed to BBC’s Newsnight, Panorama, You and Yours and ITV’s The Week.
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