Interview with Dr Nick: How coached eCBT is returning the workplace to good mental health

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The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly affected mental health, increasing anxiety and emotional distress for many individuals. Recognizing the importance of addressing mental health issues in the workplace, Health Management, an occupational health provider, developed an innovative approach to support and counsel individuals struggling with anxiety and depression.

Their solution, coached eCBT (electronic cognitive behavioural therapy), was designed to be personalized, flexible, and cost-effective. The program was trialled with a cohort of 40 employees who either self-referred or were referred by managers. The eCBT platform was available online 24/7, and remote health coaching was provided during working hours to accommodate varying schedules and locations.

The program consisted of eight online CBT sessions, each including three to five modules. Adding motivational support from trained health coaches proved vital to the program’s success. Participants reported improved work-life balance, decreased negativity, and significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety. The engagement and completion rates were higher, and individuals reported learning and implementing mechanisms to recognize and avoid stressful thought patterns.

The pilot program’s success led to its expansion, and Health Management is now incorporating additional enhancements based on feedback and learnings. These improvements include automated nudges, such as text messages or emails, to provide participants with ongoing support, motivation, and valuable information. The goal is to improve further engagement, completion rates, and long-term therapeutic gains.

Overall, Health Management’s Coached eCBT program shows the value of effective mental health interventions in the workplace. It highlights the importance of proving clinical effectiveness, making interventions accessible, addressing stigma, and showcasing return on investment. Winning the ‘Best mental health initiative’ category in the Occupational Health & Wellbeing Awards further confirms the program’s success and recognition of its impact on employee well-being.