TechInvest: New app helps West Australians build mental RESILnZ

Access Wellbeing Services has a launched a free, universal, preventative mobile app – RESILnZ – that is targeted at helping West Australians build their resilience, wellbeing and mental strength through evidence informed exercises and activities.

RESILnZ uses a range of features to build individuals mental strength including resilience exercises, mood monitoring, guided meditations, goal setting capabilities and podcast episodes. It also allows users to connect their Fitbit and Garmin watches to monitor the relationship between their heart-rate and mind.

The cost of mental illness in Australia is estimated to be $190 billion a year, equivalent to 12% of our gross domestic product (GDP). Currently, one-in-four young people suffer from mental illness in any given year, while nine million working days are lost annually in Australia. It is a major issue for the Australian population, economy, and collective quality of life.

“I think we can all agree that the world is facing challenges that are daunting and even unprecedented, and that a call for resilience of the highest order is facing us,” says Tony Pietropiccolo of Access Wellbeing Services, Director of Access Wellbeing Services.

“Uncertain and changing international and national economic times, the random threats of terrorism, increasing gap between poverty and wealth, and the global climate challenges are just a few”.

“Unfortunately, the access to 24-hour communication and news keeps these and other negative events at the forefront of our consciousness,” he added.

Whether a person develops psychological stress or a psychological injury at work depends on the balance between their exposure to stress and their coping resources.

If the level of stress is too large for a person’s coping resources, they can run into trouble.

Resilient people have strong resources and skills to manage stress and conflict as well as a good support network to help them deal with the pressures of work.

“We know that resilient people have a greater chance of bouncing back and avoiding psychological injury when faced with psychological stressors,” said Tony.

Resilience is more than coping however; resilient people are also flexible, adapt to new and different situations, learn from experience, are optimistic and ask for help when they need it.

Mr Pietropiccolo says resilience and psychological strength, like physical strength, does not just “happen”- it must be trained, practiced, and refined, and the RESILnZ app provides the perfect mechanism by which this can occur.

The RESILnZ app has been designed to not only focus on the element of resilience but to include the physical, emotional, social and spiritual elements of wellbeing.

The app was built by Tonic Digital, a Perth based consultancy specialising in data-driven digital marketing.

Tonic Digital Director, Brendan Collins, was excited by the opportunity to transition the knowledge of Access Wellbeing Services into a commercially viable product.

“Resilnz is the perfect blend of industry know-how and user-friendly technology where the various indicators of resilience provided the foundation to create a holistic mental health app for working West Australians” he said.

Mr Collins said the strong engagement that fitness apps provided acted as inspiration for ResilnZ. “ResilnZ uses various metrics to drive valuable ongoing insights for the end-user about their mental health.

“Like Fitbit but for your mind, the app taps into self-improvement and can motivate the user to strengthen their wellbeing, allowing them to work and perform at their optimum,” he said.

“The app provides a safe personalised user experience which is reflective in the engagement communications used throughout the app including reminders, tips and resources that are issued to users based on their mental performance.”

When it comes to building your resilience and increasing wellbeing, there are a range of factors you can change, even if you might need help for some.

Mr Collins said resilience thinking skills are skills everybody can use and will benefit from. The skills are valuable at any age and can be taught at any age. RESILnZ focuses on the ninety plus percent of the work force that is fundamentally “well,” but at widely varying levels of fitness in each dimension of strength (emotional, social, physical, and spiritual).

The goal is to create a force of “optimally fit” individuals who can overcome stress-producing events and grow from these experiences. People who are optimally fit are more likely to pursue high levels of responsibility and to perform well under pressure; also, they have the decision-making skills and communication skills to be successful in life.

Additionally, when facing uncertainty and adversity, these same skills help these individuals to put the problems into an appropriate perspective, find meaning in their lives, reduce rumination and catastrophic thinking, and focus on finding solutions.

“Building resilience is one way we can all reduce our stress and risk of psychological injury at work and contribute to a more mentally healthy workplace,” Mr Collins added.

ResilnZ is available for free download on iTunes, Google Play & Windows Store.

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