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Wristband tracks the mood of staff working from home

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After months of remote working employers are turning to mental health strategies to support staff. Christina Colmer McHugh tells Health Tech World that new technology is helping people cope with low moods and anxiety.

A health device designed to improve mental wellbeing was borne out of a mother’s desire to help her daughter.

Christina Colmer McHugh was driven to design the Moodbeam device after watching her daughter struggle to open up about her emotions while she was at school.

The device came about from a desire to make it easy for people to record their feelings and overtime develop an understanding of their own mood without having to have difficult conversations all the time.

More businesses are tuning into the mental health and wellbeing of staff as people work from home during the national lockdown.

Christina Colmer McHugh – Moodbeam

The wristband, which features two buttons and a companion app, is used by businesses as part of wellbeing strategies to support remote workers.

Christina said the idea aimed to give each person in an organisation a voice to express how their day was progressing.

She said: “The past 12 months have undoubtedly been some of the toughest most people have ever faced – both mentally and emotionally. Lockdown, societal restrictions and social distancing have meant that people’s lives have been hugely impacted in one way or another.

“One thing that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown is just how important it is to make sure that we’re doing everything possible to look after our wellbeing just as much as we are our physical health.

“With everyone being confined to their homes and unable to spend time with friends and family, visit restaurants or go on holiday, it’s never been more important to make time for self-care. Our mental health is the most valuable thing we have, so not being ashamed or conscious about taking some time out to do what makes you happy is vitally important.

“But looking after our mental wellbeing isn’t just about smaller activities like bubble baths and long walks. While these examples of relaxation can help in the short-term, we need to also to be putting proactive measures in place to make sure that we can identify when we’re not feeling particularly good, why that may be, and – most importantly – do something about it.

“Everyone is under an immense amount of stress at the moment, so making a long-term investment in balancing one’s personal and professional lives can make all the difference and really help those who are struggling. One such example is making sure that everyone takes a fair share of what is known as ‘invisible work’ at home – meaning the everyday tasks that keep the household running. This will make sure that the burden of running a home is shared equally, rather than falling on a particular person’s shoulders, allowing everyone to also get their fair share of personal free time to spend doing things that make them happy. Of course, this is an attitude that should extend beyond COVID-times as well.

“Personally, I’ve been trying to make more time for myself during lockdown. Between home-schooling my two daughters and running the business, it has been somewhat challenging to find a moment for myself. My mantra is to not expect too much of yourself and add more pressure to what is already an anxiety-inducing time.

“As we begin to move slowly out of lockdown – following the roadmap set out by the government – it’s perfectly understandable to be concerned about what the future holds. My personal advice would be to take things one step at a time and try and not overthink what we can’t control – focus on we can.”

Moodbeam was set up in 2016 by the Gadget Shop founder and Red5 co-founder Jonathan Elvidge, along with Christina.

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