Shortlister hosted Anna Meiners, Director of Account Services at Cascade Centers, who discussed how Cascade Centers helps employers integrate mental health into the workplace by leveraging technology to engage people in meaningful behavior change.
Founded in 1975, Cascade Centers currently serves 400 companies and 235,000 clients while continuing to grow. Part of how they have maintained steady growth and continue to expand their client base is by listening to their clients’ needs and responding to feedback from the market to evolve services all while maintaining a strong commitment to customer relationships.
What Cascade Centers has found is that an effective way to bridge the gap between traditional counseling and mental health services and the barriers associated with accessing them is to use technology. They also found that there is a demand/need for:
- Discreet access: There is still a lot of stigma around mental health and people may feel more comfortable engaging with App based tools rather than seeking support in-person or on the phone like you would see in more traditional counseling relationships.
- Privacy and immediacy: People want tools at their fingertips for accessibility at any time.
- Proactive and personalized: Technology is allowing Cascade to be more proactive - giving people an easy to use way to assess their symptoms and then providing more personalized tools to work on meaningful behavior change.
- Increased access: In many areas in our country, even in metro areas, there is a shortage of mental health providers. By using App based tools supported with coaching, people now have increased access to resources, no matter where they are.
To address these needs, Cascade Centers has created, WholeLife Directions®, a holistic digital program designed to integrate mental health into the workplace. This is in combination with EAP services that your client may or may not already have in place.
The foundation of the WholeLife Directions® program is the WholeLife Scale, an assessment developed by Cascade’s clinical team which measures behavioral health risk in 9 mental health domains. Similar to a traditional Health Risk Assessment, employees gain awareness of their wellbeing in the 9 domains measured via immediate feedback and are prompted to take action on those for improved health. It takes people about 5-8 minutes to complete and they have an 89% completion rate across registered users.
The interactive self-use tools suggested are based on individual readiness for change and goal preference. Evidence-based treatments, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness, provide the framework for addressing things like depression and anxiety that allow people to easily engage with effective strategies for meaningful behavior change. The platform offers over 500 short videos, breathing exercises and tracking tools to do things like monitor your thoughts or triggers related to symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions.
For those that are at a higher risk, WholeLife Directions® provides seamless access to coaches and counselors. This level of service is also suited for those that are looking for a more personalized touch and need an extra level of accountability from someone who can keep them on track in a supportive way. For employers with existing coaching services, Cascade Centers can white label their tool to allow other providers to integrate their services with the WholeLife Directions® platform.
Cascade Centers also uses AI to supplement the user experience within the tool. While this isn’t a replacement for a coach or counselor, it is a way to help users navigate the program and answer questions about benefits. This enhancement fulfills the need some people have for immediate support that is discreet and empathic. It also provides a way to elevate the concern to a live person if someone shares something indicating a risk to safety. This feature can be turned on or turned off – based on the needs of the employer and their feelings about having this type of tool available to their population.
To effectively support clients’ efforts with integrating WholeLife Directions® into their workplace, Cascade Centers provides access to printed resources and electronic marketing materials through their employer toolkit. They also offer full-scope reporting that protects personal results/information while allowing employers to see where the biggest areas of concern are in their populations. This makes it possible to further customize interventions and target communications to support employee engagement with healthy behavior change.
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