Category: Mental Health, Wellbeing, mental health initiative, jacobs, wellbeing at work, Mental Health Check-In, Mental Health Awareness, One Million Lives
Mental health is solvable as a challenge if we do it together, we use technology, and we measure results. With One Million Lives, changing a whole societal problem is in the palm of each of our hands. It is time we move beyond awareness to put our hands up together and, by checking our own mental health, lead the way for others to check theirs too.
Starting a global movement for better mental health
One Million Lives is a complimentary campaign accessible to everyone — no matter where they live, who they are or what organization they work for. Many people don’t have access to corporate resources or employee assistance programs, so we wanted to develop a tool to detect early signs of mental distress and offer proactive strategies, such as sleep, exercise and social media behaviours. Our goal? To break down the barriers that hinder honest conversations about mental health and encourage an open culture of support. We also sought to leverage our extensive networks and create a ripple effect around the globe.
One Million Lives is developed by Jacobs, in collaboration with mental health professionals. Our check-in tool has been developed incorporating the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale (K10), a globally recognized psychological screening tool. The tool enables users to better understand their current mental health and provides suggested strategies for how to improve mental health based on your own scores.
The story behind One Million Lives
Jacobs People & Places Solutions Vice President for Health, Safety and Environment, Paul Henry, explains the reasons behind developing this tool:
“Insights gained from our Mental Health Matters program, as well as feedback from mental health champions, employee surveys and conversations with mental health experts, all highlighted the need for more proactive and preventative solutions. So I worked with some colleagues to leverage Jacobs’ digital and global connectivity and accessed renowned psychologist Peta Slocombe’s deep domain expertise to develop the One Million Lives check-in tool.
The web-based One Million Lives check-in app was developed in partnership with RediApps and launched in December 2020. More than 13,000 check-ins have been registered on the app since its soft launch.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we decided to do more to support our champions and colleagues by hosting weekly mental health resilience video calls, which have dealt with topics such as navigating the challenges of lockdown, how to build resilience and how to deal with grief. On a good day, we have 4,500 people attend — it’s been a phenomenal success and so much appreciated by our staff.”
How is OML different from other virtual tools?
Most mental health assessments available online measure pathology, or whether people have symptoms of sickness. Others, like positive psychology measures or resilience scales, measure thinking styles or behaviours associated with how well we bounce back from challenges.
The One Million Lives check-in tool is designed to recognize that mental health is not a binary issue and that assessing for symptoms of a mental health issue alone will not value add for the majority of people. One Million Lives is not intended to “diagnose”. In some ways, instead of a flashlight identification of mental health functioning, the check-in tool aims to help turn on a floodlight, giving wider visibility to mental health.
Mental health is cyclical for most of us. We don’t always or never have signs of psychological distress. For those who are typically functioning well, the traditional measures used to diagnose depression, for example, don’t often give insight on how we are coping. Understanding early signs or risk factors is key for becoming mentally well.
The check-in tool is designed to measure three key factors:
The Kessler-10 (K10) is one of the most commonly used assessments for General Practitioners (GPs) and health professionals to undertake in medical assessments. It measures non-specific psychological distress on the anxiety-depression spectrum, based on questions about people’s levels of nervousness, agitation, psychological fatigue and depression. The higher the score, the more likely it is that a mental health disorder may be present.
Following the K10 being administered, further diagnosis of specific mental health disorders (if warranted) should be completed by a medical practitioner in conjunction with a full history, subjective assessment and other factors. For example, if the K10 score is high following a recent event such as a bereavement, a GP will manage a mental health plan differently compared to a situation where symptoms are severe, persistent over time, and are significantly affecting a person’s ability to function.
- Early warning signs or risk factors
Most participants should have low or moderate psychological distress scores. However, if they have poor quality sleep, are starting to have difficulty bouncing back from challenges, have a history of poor mental health or poor lifestyle factors such as exercise and alcohol use, these questions will help educate and direct a proactive plan forward.
- Protective or proactive factors
For participants who are not distressed, there are still behaviours and personality traits that, if identified, can be positively strengthened. The aim is to give insight and thought to these variables before they potentially lead to a bigger issue. For example, if people have extremely high standards for themselves, perfectionist tendencies, low social engagement, avoidance of difficult thoughts or unintentionally high social media use, we think we can help them to understand the potential downsides and identify good mental health goals, presenting ways to broaden their resilience repertoire to not “overload” their mental health. Even if people have coping strategies that are working now, when the pressure loads it may become more important to have a wider-ranging toolbox.
Read more about how One Million Lives helped one of our colleagues at Jacobs.
Our check-in tool is a web-based application and can be accessed through all standard web browsers on computers or mobile devices.
*One Million Lives is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any mental health disease or condition. Please seek immediate help from trained medical physicians if you suspect you are suffering from any mental health or other medical condition.