Rize CEO spreading the word – Appsworld, BCMHR & HR Directors International Summit

We’ve got some exciting events coming up for Rize!

It’s not always easy balancing app development and testing with getting the word out about the Rize app..but when it all comes together it’s oh so rewarding!

Recently, the CEO of Rize has been invited to talk at a diverse range of highly prestigious events. Below he writes on the events, opportunities and his own excitement around the future for Rize:

1. Appsworld:appsworld

Arguably the largest, most recognised app conference in the world, Appsworld have asked me to join a panel of experts on the opening day at the main stage. As you can see we’re alongside some very big names in the tech industry so I’m very much looking forward to the day.
Apps world conference – Nov 2015

2. Bedfordshire Centre for Mental Health Research in association with the University of Cambridge:

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I’ve got to admit when I was invited to give a talk to the attendees at the globally-recognised event for mental health research I was blown away. It just goes to show that the institutional world of mental health are starting to take mental health technology very seriously. With Rize at the forefront these are very exciting times!

My talk will be on the subject of ‘Bridging the gap between mental health and technology; balancing swift innovation with safety and efficacy.’ inspired by a recent article I came across on TechCrunch. It’s also a subject I’ve been in deep discussion over with MindTech who are doing great work in this area.

To find more details on the event check out – http://www.bcmhr-cu.org/content/programme

3. HR Directors International Summit:

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There’s a significantly growing demand around mental health support for staff in the work place. More and more people are suffering from demands at work and balancing this with their personal lives. The result? Stress and lots of it, leading to increased absenteeism, loss of productivity and staff turnover.

Employers are recognising the high costs associated with stress-related issues and they’re looking for a cost-effective way to support their staff that’s also simple to implement.

Due to this demand we’ve been invited to run a workshop at the top-recognised HR Directors International Summity in Prague, Oct 2015. We’ll be attending alongside HR specialists from around the world, including Cambridge University, Vodafone and the BBC.

For more details of the event visit: http://www.hrdevent.com/
All of this is about to happen alongside our BIG LAUNCH on 10th August for the next version of Rize (available for iPhone, iPad, Android and Tablet).

And finally, we have some very exciting news for Rize. In the next few months we will be putting ourselves up on Seedrs – the equity crowdfunding platform. Ever wanted to own part of a leading, innovative technology company? For as little as £10 you will be able to become a shareholder in Rize. We will be looking to raise a minimum of £70k and will be capping the investments at a maximum of £250k!

A lot of exciting events to look forward to in the coming months. I hope you’ll join us for the journey!

John Harper
Founder & CEORize

If you’re an employer or HR Director looking to support your staff take a look at our website or get in touch – www.rizenow.com  |  john.harper@rizenow.com

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Your app reduces staff stress? Prove it.

We’re now celebrating our two year anniversary from when the company vision, inspiration and determination was first conceived for Rize! To celebrate, our CEO spent the day setting up the ‘level up’ functionality for our next, big update release for Rize (10th August).

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As we provide Rize to more organisations to support mental well-being we’ve begun to heavily focus on saying to ourselves at every turn “Yeh? Prove it.”

When setting up accounts for new companies the employer/HR Director tends to already deeply understand their pain points:

– Stress-related absenteeism
– Staff turnover due to difficult working conditions
– Reduced productivity
– Unsure of how to provide support for emotional problems in the workplace, aside from supporting them themselves

As a result it’s not hard to convince them that having a digital solution in place to support their staff is a good idea. But what is most important is proving to them that Rize can do this for them effectively.

How does Rize help to support their peoples’ emotional and mental well-being, and why would organisations put their hands in their pockets to utilise this new HR technology?

Rize integrates a range of evidence-based therapeutic concepts into interactive exercises and tutorials. The concepts we integrate are backed up by a wealth of research indicating that regular use is able to reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression.

So right now we let employers put 2 + 2 together essentially. We provide evidence-based concepts in an innovative way that allows them to be used in the context of the workplace. The employer is given a dashboard where they can see overall usage of the app.

Exercises proven to reduce stress + engagement with the tool = improve well-being

This is essentially the format that telephone counselling services for the workplace and others provide. Although this is a great starting point, and enough for an employer to feel comfortable, we at Rize want the decision maker to feel unbreakingly confident that Rize is without a doubt the tool that is going to help them and their staff move into a better, self-empowered working environment. We wan’t to provide the clearest evidence for each employer so that they ‘get’ exactly why integrating Rize into their workforce can have such a powerful impact.

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With that in mind over the last three months we’ve been connecting with a range of world-class leaders and institutions in mental health who we can collaborate with to provide solid evidence that Rize does what it says on the tin.

We will be collaborating with the Cambridge Universty Centre for Neuropsychiatric Research. They will be launching a new blood spot test to measure levels of markers in the blood that indicate levels of mental well-being and depression. With their trials we will be providing their users with the Rize app inbetween the blood spot tests over a number of months, so that the user can access our ‘digital intervention’ alongside. In this way we will be able to measure if Rize is having a significantly positive effect on the individual over time in relation to their blood spot tests. If you would like to take part in this as an individual you can sign up here.

We’ve also in discussion with the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH) about working together and providing more of a formal evidence base for Rize.

What seems most important to employers right now is that they can provide a tool that they can see their employees are engaging with and the effectiveness of the tool is without doubt, all the while ensuring anonymity for each user of the app .

That’s why each step of the way we are working tirelessly to make sure that we provide both an engaging and effective service, with feedback to the employer every step of the way that it works so they can rest easy knowing we’ve got them covered.

Interested in signing up for a free trial for your organisation? Get in touch now for a no-hassle consultation.

john.harper@rizenow.com

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Is there a business case for well-being in my organisation? (P2/2)

                    Recap:

 

In part 1 of this post I talked about the process of Rize (mental well-being app) working alongside organisations, educational institutions and counselling services to work out how digital solutions can help to reduce the costs associated with employee mental well-being.

I went on to discuss the requirements for implementing ‘well-being services’ into an organisation – managing the expectations from individuals to managers, the stigmas and privacy requests, whilst still being able to offer a measurable and tangible return on investment to the decision maker.

Managing all of these expectations can be difficult. However, explaining the benefits of employee mental well-being, and the costs associated with no support is becoming a lot easier.


“It used to be mental well-being couldn’t be further from statistical measurement. But as our understanding and technology improves this is all changing.”


Fantastic work has already been carried out by gov.uk, Mind, and NICE. With their help we’ve put together some statistics on the hard £ costs of mental well-being in the work place. It used to be that mental well-being couldn’t be further from statistical measurement. But as our understanding and technology improves this is all changing.

We now know that issues around mental well-being in the workplace (pre-dominantly stress, anxiety and depression) can significantly affect rates of absenteeism, presenteeism (reduced productivity), staff turnover and ineffective communication between staff.

At the same time we are understanding more and more how to reduce these issues. Digital solutions are starting to take pride of place among other, more traditional initiatives such as counselling, health initiatives and other employee benefits.

                   

    The problem:

From public resources (references at the bottom) we have compiled hard evidence for a strong case that anyone can use – HR, Occupational Health, Line Managers, University counselling services, Individuals – to argue the case that their teams should be getting more support for mental well-being from their organisation. Below I provide six statistics on the costs and potential savings of mental well-being in the workplace (infographic soon to come):

1 – 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental health issue – most commonly stress, anxiety or depression.

2 – The total cost to employers of mental health problems among their staff is estimated at nearly £26 billion each year.

3 – The average annual cost of mental health problems is £1,035 per employee in the UK workforce.

4 – Of the 70 million days lost each year for mental health reasons, about 10 million are lost because of anxiety, depression and stress which employees say is directly caused by their work or working conditions.

5 – The number of working days lost to stress, depression and anxiety has increased by 24% since 2009

6 – Improving management of mental health in the workplace could result in cost savings of 30%. Per 1000 employees this would mean saving £250,607 a year.

 


“I’m guessing you don’t want to go into a meeting with just the problem – you want to give them something to smile about! Now you can turn this cost around and show people the way to the solution.”


 

 

So how can you get a cost for your own organisation? If you’re in the UK it can be as simple as multiplying the number of employees in your workout by 1035 .. the costs are always very surprising.

But now I’m guessing you don’t want to go into a meeting with just the problem – you want to give them something to smile about! Now you can turn this cost around and show people the way to the solution.

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             Solutions:

As I mentioned in part one of this post there are a number of existing services you can bring in to help support your staff’s mental well-being and bring the associated costs down:

 

1. Counselling (in-house or external)

Counselling is by far one of the most popular services offered. You can have an in-house counsellor, a referral system for employees to visit an external counsellor, or have counselling hotlines. For those people who take advantage of counselling at their workplace they can find a lot of value in this. The only issue is for those people who do not feel comfortable talking to counsellors or using a referall system from their workplace. All in all I’d say counselling can be a fantastic first step to supporting your staff. Just make sure you have a way to check that people are using it.

The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy provide very helpful guidelines for counselling in the workplace.

2. Health and fitness

Our physical health is inextricably linked to our mental well-being. Being physically active can help to significantly reduce our symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. Many employers have taken to encouraging staff to take breaks from their work and go for a short walk, or offer their employees gym memberships. This can be a fantastic way to keep people active, and it often improves communications between staff.

3. Digital solutions

There are now a handful of effective apps and desktop software that aim to support staff mental well-being. Rize is one of them..one of the better I like to think. Digital solutions can be a great way to engage employees and provide them with a tool they can use to help themselves.

By being able to access information, exercises and feedback via their smartphones it mean they don’t have to let their employers know that they even have stress or anxiety in the first place. They can do it whenever and wherever they like, without worrying about who knows about it.

This is the fun part where I get to talk about Rize. Our app can be downloaded from any iOS and Android device – smartphone or tablet. Not only can employees access the app completely anonymously and for free, the employer can see overall monthly usage of their subscription to Rize.

Staff login to the app and are provided with a full range of gamified therapeutic exercises and tutorials. They have access to a profile to track their progress and their mood, and we link the app with the users calendar and reminders to allow them to set up positive activities to help them in their day. You can take a look for yourself by downloading the app and using the group code ‘blog’ (limited to 50 trials so download now: iOS – https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rize/id885430754?mt=8 Android – https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rizenow).

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Measuring and tracking you Return on Investment (ROI):

The difficulty is – how do you measure the savings? Is you budget being well spent here? Are you making your money back through the savings described above? Mental well-being is a very personal thing. Most employees do not want in any way for their boss to even know if they’re feeling stressed or depressed…from research we’ve found almost everyone feels very strongly about this. So how does the decision maker gather enough information to make an informed decision in this area?

The best three solutions we have found are research, monthly usage data, and staff surveys. If you are able to gather intelligence on all three then you’re onto a winner.

Research: Take a look at the service. See what evidence they have that their solution will be effective – case studies, clinical trials, free trials.

Monthly usage: Make sure you choose a service that can provide basic monthly usage data – nothing about the individual, but enough to find out that what you’re paying for is actually being used.

Staff surveys: Create a short, anonymous survey that asks the employee about their feelings towards support they receive in the workplace, and a few basic questions about their mood. If you want to do this for free you can use something like Survey Monkey or you can go with a professional service such as People Insight. After a few months of providing the chosen well-being service send out the survey again. Compare results and check this with your statistics on absenteeism rates, staff turnover, and any data you may already have on productivity.

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In conclusion:

I wanted to keep this post as short as possible whilst making sure it’s full of useful information to you all..so I won’t waffle on now. The purpose of this article has been to convey the message to you that mental well-being in the workplace is now a widely accepted, tangible ‘thing’. People suffer, we all suffer with stress, anxiety and depression at some point, and we all need support sometimes.

If you’re an employer, Manager, HR Director, Team Leader, you can be this supporter. Not just out of the kindness of your heart but because there is hard, compelling data that shows that you can save/make money from supporting employee mental well-being.

 By investing in your peoples’ well-being and supporting them you get a very solid return on investment: improved productivity, less stress-related sick days, and increased loyalty..people want to work where they’re happy.

Is there a business case for well-being in my organisation? (P1/2)

Over the last month we’ve been in discussions with a wide range of organisations who are looking to provide our mental well-being tool to their people. The challenge we’re coming across again and again is the disconnect between the person within the organisation interested in integrating the service and the decision maker who will pay for the service. The person who is making the decision, often wants to see a business case for why they should invest in their peoples’ well-being. I have found that offering effective and trusted well-being services to our teams and communities can change the way we work, study and live – with an implicit and measurable, positive return on investment. This inspired me to write this article:

[If you haven’t come across Rize before please feel free to watch our short explainer video here first]

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As Rize continues to grow the amount of interest we’re getting is expanding at a rate we’re struggling to keep up with.

Since our major launch of the Rize app onto iPhone, iPad, Android and Tablet we’ve been rushed off our feet. We’ve been featured by the Huffington Post, Cambridge University, and we were honoured by an invitation to pitch Rize infront of the Duke of York last week at an event called ‘Pitch@palace‘ – See our one minute pitch on the day here.

When I set out to create Rize my focus was on the individual – working out how I can engage and help the most amount of people to understand and improve their mental well-being with an fun and interactive app, whilst keeping it safe, relevant and effective.

As word spread, I started to hear more and more interest from not just individuals but larger bodies – employers, Universities, counselling services, HR services, even sports teams! They all saw the opportunity to provide Rize as an accessible tool to help their people to improve their mental well-being.

Those organisations who have showed early interest in Rize instinctively knew what improved mental well-being can do for a team or workforce, but many of them don’t have enough of the solid facts yet to make the case – the business case of why improved support for mental well-being will have a positive impact for the whole organisation. The people who ‘get it’ – the HR Directors, the counsellors, the team leaders aren’t necessarily always the decision makers who either say “Yes, we want Rize” or “Really?..”.

So I began interviewing employees, employers, students, counsellors and mental health institutions – I realised each of them all have their own measure of success, their own metrics for their return on investment (ROI)…whether they are investing their time, hope, or money.

  • I found that employees/students/patients (we’ll call ‘individuals’) wanted anonymity and some kind of assurance that they won’t be wasting their time using Rize – they wanted to know exactly how Rize can help them, where the evidence is, and how much time it would take out of their day.
  • The person interested in subscribing Rize for the organisation (we’ll call ‘administrator’) wanted to at least know that the service was being used regularly, by a lot of people and not just being picked up once by a few, then replaced by flappy birds the next day. They also wanted to know how this is going to provide an indirect cash-value return in some form.
  • The decision makers who would be paying for the subscription wanted to know two things – how does this help my ‘individual”s to flourish and feel grateful to their organisation, and most importantly – what is the ROI.

I was very fortunate to have interviewed all of these people (thanks to advice from my excellent mentors at Accelerate Cambridge) before we had finished creating Rize. I was able to not only tailor the value proposition and promotional material for each of the people concerned, but I was able to add important functionality to Rize that would allow them to see their own ROI.

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For the individual we added mood and stress tracking functionality to help them see if using the Rize app was helping them to manage their stress and feel better, with the option to create custom workouts at the length of their choice (1-15 minutes). Our promotional material now includes information on evidence of effectiveness for the concepts integrated in Rize. We also made sure all personal information was stored on their phone and not somewhere else so they wouldn’t have to worry about being ‘spied on’.

For the administrator we created their own dashboard – where they could see number of installs and usage by everyone within the organisation – thus allowing them to see if the service is being used regularly, without compromising the individual’s anonymity. Through the dashboard they could also include information on other support systems available within the organisation, so that the individual’s could again access these without having to first reach out to the administrator.

Then for the decision maker we decided on two things. Firstly we are putting Rize through clinical trials – to provide grounded evidence that Rize is able to reduce the levels of stress within a workforce over the course of six months – that way the decision maker can have confidence in Rize helping their people. Secondly we put together a solid business case, with the help of publications from gov.uk, NICE, MIND, a group of HR Directors in Cambridge and a number of other institutions focusing on bringing mental well-being to the workplace.

In part 2 of this article I will provide and go into the compelling business case we can now provide – that anyone interested in the mental well-being of their organisation can take to the decision maker and make it a no-brainer for them to put more resources into supporting their peoples’ well-being.

We are very fortunate to have connected with our first, forward thinking organisation: the Cambridge Judge Business School, who ‘got it’ immediately. Their HR Director – Julie Brown, a world leader in her area has launched Rize with her staff yesterday – to help their teams effectively manage their stress, improve productivity and enrich their day to day well-being. We’re already seeing great interest from employees across the company from the word go.

With the help of innovative organisations such as the Cambridge Judge Business School, who show an active interest in supporting their peoples’ well-being, we are very much looking forward to reaching even more people with Rize.

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Keep your eyes peeled for part two of this article, coming soon!

John Harper

Founder & CEO

Rize

If you’re an organisation interested in subscribing to Rize you can get in contact with us – info@rizenow.com, and we can set you up with a no-hassle, free trial and provide promotional documents for your people.

For more general information please visit our website – http://www.rizenow.com

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Why Rize has joined the mental health app train

There are a great deal of apps out there to support mental health. We hear about more e-mental health ideas with innovative designs, functionality and feedback settings to help users in supporting a mental illness or helping people develop valuable skills to support their mental well-being.

A year ago I decided I wanted to be part of this incredible movement – to start working out how technology can fit into helping us and our mental health.

The story goes back a year further when I was diagnosed with moderate depression. It had been going on for a long time and I had no idea what was happening to me, let alone find my voice to describe it..so I sat in a loop hole, popping in and out until this time around it got worse. I’m very fortunate that my sister is a training counsellor, and she encouraged me to visit my GP. Again I was fortunate in that my GP was very patient and empathetic and helped me work out what I could do next.

I’m very much someone who likes to work on myself, away in a little mental workshop where I can pick myself apart and evaluate myself in my own way, and then work on my ‘strengths’ and ‘weaknesses’ as I see fit. This is where my first experience of E-mental health came in. My GP advised I check out Moodgym- https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome – a website which teaches you about depression/anxiety: symptoms, effects, how I can help myself, and what help there is out there for me.

The website itself was quite ‘clunky’ and full of text, which believe me if you’re depressed you do not want to have to deal with. Nonetheless I made sure I got through everything on the website, and at the end of it I actually felt…better. Not ‘cured’ by all means, but relieved that I knew more about what was going on inside myself.

I felt confident enough to start seeing a counsellor, I made a number of changes to my lifestyle, and I even felt good enough to start chasing my dreams instead of my own tail.

This is when I realised just how important moodgym had been in my steps towards recovery. Because of the type of person I am, it helped immensely that I had something, a tool I could use to ‘work on myself’. It gave me space from other people’s evaluations of what I was doing right and wrong, and provided me with such empowering information that I began to believe that what was happening to me was in fact something tangible and I could get help for from others who would know how to help me further.

I began opening up to people about my experiences, and in turn I received an overwhelming response of people with similar stories. The problem for others, just as I felt was that the content was out there but it was incredibly laborious to find and boring to engage with.

That’s when my lightbulb appeared. My dream has always been to take my own ideas and make them into a reality. With the help of moodgym, similar sites, and counselling I developed the confidence to start on this journey. I created the concept which is now the Rize app! – a gamified app that integrates therapeutic concepts into simple exercises to help users to track and improve their mental well-being.

Over the last year I have gained support from the Cambridge Accelerator Program, Mindtech, The London Institute of Psychiatry, Nottingham University, and a group of counsellors in Cambridgeshire.

My mission is to provide people like me with content that is accessible, engaging, and effective – to help support their journey in tracking and improving their mental well-being. I don’t believe digital technology can, at least in my generation, act as a cure for anything like depression, but I strongly believe that it can be a powerful supplement to engaging, recovering, and developing resilience for ourselves.

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There are so many incredible, new technologies coming out now, such as moodpanda, wearewhatwedo, sparx, and many others. It’s an exciting, growing area of mental health and I’m very happy to be a part of it.

So that’s why I’m on this train! Pop your head in the iTunes store in two weeks and let me know what you think of V1 of my first try 🙂

What are your thoughts on e-mental health? Let the open discussion begin!

 

www.rizenow.com