This World Health Day, it’s time to assess how our healthcare infrastructure is supporting the people who need it most. The World Health Organisation have named 2021 “Year of Health and Care Workers”, recognising the unwavering dedication our frontline healthcare workers have demonstrated in the fight against COVID-19. Now, we need to ensure that these workforces are properly supported, protected and motivated. Launching with the theme “Protect. Invest. Together.”, the World Health Organisation's new campaign highlights the urgent need to invest in health workers for shared dividends in health, jobs, economic opportunity and equity.
More than a year on, the impact of the pandemic on mental health remains high. In Australia, leading mental health organisations Lifeline and Beyond Blue are reporting a 21 and 29 per cent increase in contacts in January 2021 compared to two years ago. Restrictions on daily life, isolation, loss of income, bereavement and fear have all contributed to an increase in anxiety, depression and other mental health issues. Sadly, the research tells us that the effects of these impacts can continue for many years after the initiating event.
Remote working has made it more challenging for organisations to oversee and support the wellbeing of staff, and many frontline workers are finding it difficult to make their own needs a priority.
In response to these issues, DB Results created MiOK – a wellbeing app that puts mental health tools in the hands of individuals by prompting them every day with the question, “Am I OK?”
The app helps people become more aware of their holistic wellbeing and the factors that influence how they are feeling, so they can take positive action to adjust their lifestyle or seek help early.
“It wasn’t until I started using MiOK that I realised the impact certain things were having on my mood,” says one user. “I was able to modify my own behaviour to avoid these situations and improve my wellbeing.”
For frontline healthcare workers, the risk of increased strain on mental health has been especially high, due to factors such as their increased risk of infection, high-pressure work environments and increased isolation from their families and friends.
“MiOK is particularly useful for frontline workers,” says Candy D’Menzie, Health Advisor-Clinician on the team that developed the app. “While they’re looking out for others, who is looking out for them? DB Results are proud to be providing a solution to this problem.”
MiOK helps people be more mindful of their own wellbeing and the app will nudge the user to use the inbuilt evidence-based questionnaires and resources or seek outside help when things aren’t right. The app can also be integrated with an organisation’s Employee Assistance Program so employees can easily access those services.
Social enterprise Pro Bono Australia has been using MiOK as a way to support their employees for more than six months. "We noticed our staff were feeling the effects of the turbulence happening during this COVID period,” says Pro Bono Australia’s founder and publisher Karen Mahlab AM. “We offered MiOK to our staff as a tool to self-manage. For privacy reasons, we ensured they could take it up anonymously if they wanted and we feel that just having something easy to use and accessible was very valuable."
MiOK also offers the ability to track a range of health and wellbeing indicators such as body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, sleep, water and alcohol intake, allowing users to better understand their health holistically.
“I added a personalised activity into MiOK which I use to record which days and for how long I do yoga. It is a great way to track how much time I spend on the yoga mat and the correlation to my mood,” says a user.
“Having experienced some health issues, I use MiOK to track a couple of key indicators including my weight, which provides a great graph to show how I am tracking. I am a more visual person, and it works well for me” says another.
MiOK is part of DB Results’ commitment to philanthropic support and to create a more user-centric healthcare landscape by combining “the best health practices with cutting edge technology,” says Co-CEO Gavin Bunshaw.