Headversity and United Way Calgary help local organizations adapt to the new normal

Employees are having a hard time balancing productivity and behavioural health, opening the door for companies like Calgary’s Headversity to step in and address the issue with software.

Building a business around helping organizations improve the mental well-being of employees is increasingly common. In 2019, Forbes estimated that the annual cost of ignoring workplace mental health is $80-100 billion USD.

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Headversity CEO Ryan Todd knows all too well how long waitlists can get to access important resources. As a psychiatrist himself, Todd says people are challenged to understand where they stand on their mental health and have no benchmark to keep them on track.

“The thing that I was seeing as a clinician was that we didn’t have access to these skills. And it was either you needed to pay $300 an hour to see a psychologist to help build these skills, or you needed to wait six months on a waitlist,” Todd told Channel Daily News. “And we really felt that was unacceptable.”

AdaptiveYYC is a personalized, pocket-sized resilience training initiative that helps employees buffer against stress and build-up their emotional well-being. Source: CalgaryUnitedWay.org.

United Way Calgary is a crucial touchpoint for hundreds of people in the Calgary area and it was the organization that first decided to reach out to Headversity, according to Todd. United Way was concerned about people working behind the scenes at other nonprofits during the pandemic. As it became clear that the early lockdown measures were going to last for much longer than a couple of weeks, Todd says United Way raised a red flag, stressing the importance of easy to access mental health resources for the staff serving a community ravaged by economic uncertainty and a deadly virus.

“It’s a mental health crisis,” he said. “We’re hearing from organizations across North America that 70 per cent of employees are saying right now is the most stressful time of their entire career. We’re also hearing up to 80 per cent of employees saying if another organization or another company offered more mental health supports, they would switch to that company.”

Headversity partnered with United Way Calgary last year to build the ‘AdaptiveYYC’ initiative. The purpose of this initiative was to support the employee well-being of small- to medium-sized businesses, government-funded agencies, and non-profits in Calgary and the surrounding areas by building resilience to combat the stress of the pandemic

The unique initiative featured three months of free use of Headversity’s resilience training program. The program contains six different tracks that target users’ mental health, self expertise, mindfulness, mental fitness, hardiness, and energy management. These tracks are personalized with the help of a Resilience Algorithm, which tracks your progress across the six tracks after establishing that crucial mental health baseline.

Since AdaptiveYYC is still in its early stages, Todd says it’s too early to quantify the positive results of its implementation. However, in previous case studies of organizations who have completed the program, there have dramatic improvements in each of the six areas of Heaversity’s resilience program.

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Alex Coop
Alex Coophttp://www.itwc.ca
Former Editorial Director for IT World Canada and its sister publications.

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