It’s estimated that over 70 million working days are lost in the UK due to mental health issues each year. Work-related mental health problems cost the British economy between £70 billion to £100 billion annually through lost working days, staff turnover and lower productivity. In-house counselling or hotlines are expensive and time-consuming, often overlooking problems such as employees not being comfortable with talking about their mental health.
A new app called Rize aims to help companies and organisations address these issues that may be faced by their employees.
Created by John Harper and supported by the Accelerate Cambridge programme at Cambridge Judge Business School, Rize will be launched on 5 March 2015. Developed over the last 12 months, the app helps users to understand, track, and improve their mental well-being, and to manage their stress and anxiety through a series of simple and engaging exercises which take five minutes per day.
Harper, who grew up in Cambridge, says his own experience of depression was the inspiration for Rize:
I started with passion and determination to create something that can help everyday people improve an incredibly important part of their well-being which is starting to get more and more recognition. With the invaluable help of Accelerate Cambridge I am now able to develop this into a sustainable business.
The exercises are diverse: while relaxing breathing techniques may work for one person, for another it might be important to focus on looking at their negative thought patterns or lifestyle in order to understand their mental health. Rize has benefitted from the input of several advisors including the Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research at the University of Cambridge, MindTech (NHS) and The London Institute of Psychiatry.
For example, the deep breathing exercises advise:
Make sure when you breathe, you breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. When breathing in, try not to move your chest, and instead let your abdomen stretch out…. When you breathe out, allow your belly to come back in. This way of breathing will stretch out your diaphragm and tell your central nervous system that it’s okay to relax.
Professor Sabine Bahn, Director of the Cambridge Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research at the University of Cambridge and practising psychiatrist, said:
I am very impressed with Rize, which addresses a very important need. The app has potential to help millions of people around the world. It integrates engaging and effective concepts to support mental well-being. The interactive exercises also provide users an opportunity to track their progress. I will certainly recommend the app to my patients as a tool to maintain mental well-being and I hope to collaborate with Rize in the near future.
The app is available to download from 5 March 2015 from the iTunes and Google Play app stores for a free seven-day trial. After that users can continue to use Rize through a weekly subscription. Companies, schools and other organisations can also subscribe annually to provide this to their staff/students for free, and there is a tiered pricing structure depending on their requirements. After that, companies, schools and other organisations can subscribe, and there is a tiered pricing structure depending on their requirements.