Size: 6-19 staff
Industry: Health Care and Social Assistance
Clearhead is a digital mental health social enterprise. We have a core team of 8 people that comprises of a clinical psychologist and a full technical product team. We have a clinical advisory board which comprises of general practitioners with mental health special interests and a psychiatrist. We serve the full spectrum of mental health and wellbeing including being able to provide immediate onsite crisis support. Our clients sit across a range of industries from retail to education to hospitality and health. All our clients have employee numbers of more than 1000 and are usually distributed across the country.
Clearhead is a workplace wellbeing provider that has introduced significant innovation and a commitment to equity in the solution we provide. Our integrated online platform ensures that our clients are able to provide personalised support to their employees on-demand, their manager are empowered to create a psychologically safe culture, and their boards are able to confidently meet their health and safety obligations through our comprehensive data analytics report. Employees are not left figuring where to get help and are instead provided a safe space to reach out for support, self-manage, and be matched to the right mental health professional.
Background on situation and opportunity
The main challenges faced are: - Unsatisfactory EAP provider that are passive and do not provide counselling sessions that are relevant to the employees’ specific issue. - Management and Boards do not have visibility into the issues driving poor mental wellbeing in their employees and therefore not sure how to improve things. - The stigma of mental health causes employees to fear negative impact on their career when disclosing their mental health challenges. - Workplace culture that does not foster positive wellbeing. - Remote work making it harder to check in with employees around their wellbeing and proactively support them.
The main problem we wanted to solve through our digital platform was to enable individuals who traditionally would have struggled to reach out to EAP support due to the stigma, such as men, to do so easily without judgement. We achieved this through our online therapy booking system and the target that we wanted to see was higher-than-average therapy bookings from men. What we saw was 55% of those that book therapy on Clearhead being men! To ensure equitable access for Maori and Pacifica, we needed to ensure that our digital platform provided culturally appropriate mental health support. This meant that our digital resources had to include Māori and Pacifica specific resources, have our digital platform available in te reo Māori, and have Māori and Pacifica therapists that employees can seek counselling from. To measure success, we wanted to see our proportion of users who are of Māori and Pacifica background reflecting that of our client’s employee base, which we did. We also wanted to ensure that for the majority of employees that would not seek EAP support, for them to know that there are other digital tools to help them. To ensure we achieve this, we implemented a comprehensive onboarding process tailored to each client’s specific organisational structure to ensure employee engagement. This included employee activation through in-person events and providing regular mental health and wellbeing educational resource for the organisation to start conversations with employees within the organisation. To measure success, we wanted to see employee engagement of more than 10% (average engagement of digital products) and what we saw was engagement of up to 40% of employees with our clients.
Clearhead provides holistic, proactive, mental health and wellbeing support for employees that is driven by data. We achieve this through an integrated offering comprising of the following 4 areas 1. We function as a EAP provider that take a consumer-centric design to ensuring people get matched to the right therapist for their specific need. Employees can access employer-funded therapy through an online booking system at any time. They get to choose from 230+ therapists delivering therapy online and in person across NZ, including during the weekend. 2. Majority of employees see therapy as a last resort and so we ensure that they are provided a safe space to confidentially disclose their challenge and get a personalised digital plan where they learn how to self-manage their specific issue. Additionally, the digital platform allows anyone in the organisation who is interested in better supporting their peers to go through a digital mental health first aid training. This training helps them learn how to identify when someone is in distress, how to reach out and have an empathetic conversation safety, as well as put a safety plan in place for those that are in acute distress. 3. To ensure that the organisation have insight on what are the triggers driving poor mental wellbeing in the organisation. Clearhead provide aggregated and annonymised data analytics reports on a regular basis to help Boards manage their health and safety risks. The report helps the management team to monitor progress and impact over time. 4. Once the organisation understands what are key areas that they want to focus on improving based on Clearhead’s data analytics reports. Clearhead support the organisation to build internal capability and introduce processes, policies and initiatives that will address the underlying root causes and create a positive workplace culture in the long term.
Engagement and communication
We work with our clients to ensure there is a calendar of events where we have an active presence so that staff know we are here to help. For example, nib ran a 6-week campaign called nibMindfull. This digital mental health initiative is designed to connect and motivate their employees to develop simple mental wellbeing habits while working from home. The premise behind these campaigns is for us to work together with our client to raise awareness about the importance of good mental health and wellbeing and the various supports that are available through Clearhead. This means covering topics on stress management and resilience to finding happiness and purpose. This broad spectrum ensures that Clearhead’s offering is relevant for everyone, not just those that are in psychological distress or have a mental illness. We also provide wellbeing content that is regularly emailed directly to staff that helps them understand the importance of good mental health and see the value of using Clearhead to self-manage their mental wellbeing proactively. Whereby, 90% of Clearhead users self-manage their wellbeing on our digital platform and only 10% need to go on to get therapy / EAP support. We also support our clients to build internal capability through fostering a mental health champions network. This generates an informal peer-peer support network where employees are able to go to someone at work who is not their manager and therefore not have to worry if it would affect their career progression when they ask for help. The Champions then refer them onto Clearhead for support. This network also creates a psychologically safe culture where people feel they can share their personal mental health stories as a positive way of increasing awareness within the organisation and help reduce the stigma by allowing leaders and peers to be vulnerable.
We were able to ensure that those who reach out for help and required professional EAP support, were matched to mental health professionals with expertise in their specific concerns. We also fulfil 100% of our client’s request for 24-hour therapy turnaround. For example, one of our client’s employees found out that his wife was having an affair and walked out on him with the kids. He was in severe distress with concerns of suicidal intent. In less than 24 hours, we got him to speak to a psychologist that specialises in relationship breakups and parenting. This allowed him to process what he was experiencing and be reassured that what he is thinking and feeling is normal in the context of a professional who is familiar with his specific concern. By optimising for the therapeutic relationship, it meant that the individual found the experience very helpful and that dramatically reduced his risk of committing suicide. Another one of our clients is Te Puni Kokiri who used our existing offering not for their employees but to support a cohort of 40 Māori youth from South Auckland. Within 5 weeks of the program, we saved 3 lives. 3 of the young people told us that because of our program they did not complete their suicide attempt. This was a result of the following: - One learn skills on our digital mental wellbeing platform to talk herself out of completing the act - Another found the free counselling healing to deal with the trauma he faced and that gave him sufficient meaning to not see his life as worthless. - The last one reached out to a peer on the program when she wanted to commit suicide and her peer talk her out of it.
To improve equity in mental health outcomes, we have to account for Māori individuals that face twice the amount of distress as non-Māori but are half as likely to reach out for help. The incorporation of Kaupapa Māori is mostly weaved into the experience of the full Clearhead digital platform. For example, Clearhead’s digital therapist is able converse in te reo Māori (world-first innovation) and serve as a kiatiaki on the platform. Its role is to be a guardian and guide to the user on how to better understand themselves and the steps they can take to improve their wellbeing. We also ensure strong cultural consideration within the digital wellbeing tools on Clearhead’s platform. Here are a couple examples below. Mindful Watching tool: applies the cultural principle that for Māori, the whenua is a key part of identity. Through watching the videos of journeying through the mara (garden), the connection to the land will improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Balancing Mood tool: applies the cultural principle of Te Waa Po, Te Waa Ao. Te Waa being the time needed for wellness and healing on all levels – emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally. By involving the whole essence of a person as part of the healing, it allows the individual to be brought back into balance and rhythm. We work with key Māori individuals through the following ways: - Māori individuals of lived experience were involved in Clearhead’s codesign and development of the online platform. - Our Māori translator, Petera Hakiwai, of Ngāti Kahungunu descent, is a lecturer at EIT for Bachelor of Arts (Māori). He worked with a Māori psychologist to assist him with his translation. - Nehe Milner-Skudder, All Black of Māori descent, helps us with being the face of mental wellbeing content that resonates with Māori men.
Innovation and creativity
An innovation we introduced is an online booking system for EAP support whereby the employees can choose from 230+ NZ registered therapist based on their real time availability due to our system integrating directly with the therapist’s calendar. This is significantly different from other EAP providers where employees do not get to choose their therapist. They are either not given a choice at all or they have to contact several therapists directly to find out their availability. This visibility empowers the individual and ensures that the help-seeking experience is consumer-centric whereby choice, convenience and control is at the core. The result of this is that our average therapist rating score is 4.7 out of 5 stars, and this is significantly different to most businesses’ employees experience with their EAP provider. Whereby, the feedback has been that traditional EAP support received has been unhelpful or not very good. Additionally, through our data analytics report, we help organisation to have visibility on what is going on in their organisation, while respecting the privacy of individual employees. Through our reports, we guide our clients on how to prioritise and target their limited resources on the things that matter. Therefore, the organisation provides both support to the individual experiencing distress but also put in place long term change that directly tackles the common root causes impacting their employees’ wellbeing. For example, one of the organisations we worked with, our report showed that their staff were facing three times higher rates of domestic violence than our public data benchmark. The organisation decided to put in place further support, including introducing domestic violence leave for all their employees to access. Ensuring staff can still get paid while they sort out the challenging situation of untangling an unhealthy relationship and finding a safe space to be in.
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Michelle Cooper, Head of Safety and Wellbeing (Foodstuffs North Island)
0272033586 • [email protected]
Angela Lim, CEO (Angela Lim)
0212573962 • [email protected]