How to address low mood and depression
With the economic impact of poor mental health in the workplace costing trillions of dollars in lost productivity globally, 80% of companies now have some kind of investment in employee wellbeing.
But despite their best intentions, most aren't managing to make a real difference. In Deloitte's latest Wellbeing at Work survey, most respondents said their wellbeing had stayed the same or got worse compared to the previous year.
So why is this happening?
A big problem is that most mental health solutions aren't scientifically validated. There's no way to know if they actually work. Despite a growing market of over 10,000 apps promising to tackle symptoms of depression, less than 5% are scientifically-backed.
This leaves organisations lacking reliable digital support that can make a real difference to their people.
That’s why our research team conducted a pilot Randomised Controlled Trial to investigate the effect of Unmind on wellbeing and productivity for employees experiencing low mood.
Key findings: A cost-effective solution
Our pilot trial, which investigates how feasible and user-friendly a solution is as well as its effects, showed that Unmind had a significant positive impact on wellbeing. This demonstrates the potential for a scalable, expert-developed solution to improve productivity and reduce the economic burden of mental health issues.
The courses are designed to be completed in short sessions, with an average duration of 90 minutes over three weeks - which is shorter than most depression interventions that are on average six weeks long.
Real, clinical improvement
40% of participants experienced clinically meaningful improvement in their symptoms of depression.
Reduced work time affected by low mood
Participants reported that the proportion of time at work affected by low mood dropped from 41% at baseline to 29% at the end of the study. In the control group, presenteeism dropped by only 2% - supporting our hypothesis that Unmind can have a positive effect on productivity.
This reduction translates to a significant saving of £75.22/USD $135.18/AUS $217.89 per employee, per week, for full-time employees experiencing low mood (based on average wages in each territory).
Across all participants, symptoms of depression were reduced by nearly a third (30%) after completing our courses. These improvements were sustained even four weeks after the course, showing its potential for long-term effectiveness.
Engaging, relevant and user-friendly tools
Over 80% of participants were satisfied with the courses and 76% found the intervention was relevant to them.
How we conducted the study
We recruited 405 employed adults with mild-to-moderate depressive symptoms. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three low mood courses or a control group.
We assessed participants on their mental health, wellbeing and productivity at baseline, after the three-week course completions and after an additional four week period, during which no participants had access to the platform.
The interventions in the study were all grounded in evidence-based psychological therapies.
1. Mind Your Mood – aimed at enhancing understanding of the cycle of low mood and empowering users to make changes using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.
2. Activate Your Mood – focused on improving mood and increasing activity levels, drawing from the evidence-based treatment of Behavioural Activation.
3. Finding Happiness – incorporates Acceptance and Commitment Therapy principles, aiming to help users live more meaningful lives through awareness and promoting personal growth.
With growing concern around how mental health is affecting the global economy, our study shows how promising expert-backed digital solutions can change lives and support people to improve their performance.
With evidence from this pilot trial that our solutions are feasible and have minimal negative effects on users, we will be building on these findings with larger-scale trials in partnership with organisations to further shape the future of digital mental health support.
In partnership with Unmind
Our vision is to create a world where mental health is universally understood, nurtured&celebrated.