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A new smart wearable gives agencies no excuse not to prioritise employee’s mental health

This kind of partnership between WPP Health Practice & BioBeats takes a scientific, evidence-based approach to tackling mental health issues, allowing businesses to create credible, effective solutions.

Izzy Ashton

Assistant Editor, BITE

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Today marks World Mental Health Day, an important reminder to those individuals who may be suffering themselves, but also to those around them who may be struggling to find the right words to reach out to them. Of course mental well-being is about more than just one day; yet World Mental Heath Day is another important opportunity to challenge the stigma and silence that still surrounds mental health both for individuals and companies.

When 96% of people believe that looking after your mental health is just as important as your physical health, according to a survey conducted by Bauer Insiders in October this year, we know collectively that this is something businesses especially need to be taking seriously.

With this in mind WPP Health Practice have announced a new partnership with health tech start up BioBeats to launch a smart wearable for employees that will track stress levels and deliver personalised insights and solutions to improve mental health. The wearable is linked to an app which will aggregate the data and collate it to allow WPP Health Practice to accurately plan future wellbeing and mental health support services for their employees.

1/3
adults have experienced anxiety or depression at work
44%
never report mental health issues to managers
1 in 5
organisations are still not doing anything to support employee wellness

The app will collect both physiological and psychological data and will then use AI to learn about how activities, interactions and environments can affect mental health. It can then offer personalised support to the user. This kind of wearable tech is effective because it can gather and organise unbiased, specific data. This will then feed into an AI system that over time will be able to generate even more specific solutions for employees and provide the data and insight for employers to implement more personalised wellbeing programmes.

Internal mental health initiatives include yoga workshops, flexible working and mental health first aiders. David Plans, the CEO and Founder of BioBeats believes understanding how each employee is feeling will be key to developing a successful internal support system in workplaces: “As we all move towards the future, and the definition of what it means to ‘work’ evolves, data on employee mental health and wellbeing will form an integral part of any successful corporate strategy.”

Some businesses are reluctant to implement such schemes as flexible working because of a fear that it might have a negative impact on productivity. With technology like this, companies will now be able to understand the real effects of changing their working policies on their staff. This kind of partnership takes a scientific, evidence-based approach to tackling mental health issues, allowing businesses to create credible, effective solutions.

The wearables are being piloted across an international team in London, Sydney and Milan for the next three months.

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technology Mental Health