The pandemic has been hard for businesses, but beyond people management and profits, there have been employee wellbeing concerns.
Everyone wants staff to be healthy, but the pandemic saw a sharp increase in employee burnout, and eventually millions left work as part of the ‘Great Resignation.’
MYNDUP has been recognized at the CVC Young Innovator Awards (2020) and received the Barclays Start-up Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2021). Safe to say, it’s a company with its finger on the pulse of wellbeing.
The discussion shows the importance of mental wellbeing and how far companies need to come to truly help their employees.
What is MYNDUP?
MYNDUP avoids the ‘one size fits all’ approach to mental health by offering live one-to-one video sessions across the whole mental health spectrum. Personalized healthcare is undoubtedly beneficial, but I was keen to find out Gujral’s inspiration for the product.
Gujral explains: “In 2019, I was in and out of hospital for eight months with an undiagnosed physical illness and as a result, my mental health began to decline.
“When I finally built up the courage to reach out to my line manager and HR in my corporate job, they were both unable to help me, either by the unawareness of any supportive offerings available, or the multiple barriers to entry that occupational health had, stopping me from getting the support when I needed it most. I couldn’t keep reliving my story again and again to strangers, and this left me feeling as though I did not have any services I could turn to for help.”
On the back of this, Gujral “ended up self-funding a private counselor” until he realized it wasn’t a good fit. This led him to do online research to find a life coach who had an immensely positive impact on his mental wellbeing.
Gujral explains: “The life coach changed my whole life around and it was through this meeting that I realized there was no one size fits all approach to mental health. I became inspired to create a platform for those struggling with mental health issues, so they could access a variety of treatments and find what helps them best, as well as change the way organizations deal with mental health so that no one had to face the barriers to support that I did. This became MYNDUP!”
In terms of the current wellbeing climate, Gujral notes: “Businesses are struggling to overcome historic attitudes to mental health, where it was either kept quiet or dealt with by occupational health, EAP or insurance. There have been advancements, but many organizations still treat it as a tick-box exercise.
“This is simply not good enough, especially as many businesses will be spending vast sums of money on services that aren’t fit for purpose.
“Businesses need to offer fully rounded mental health support. That goes above Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) or insurance. They need an offering that is proactive in its solutions, connects employees to a range of quality, anonymous support programs, and ultimately has low barriers to entry.”
Improving your mental wellbeing offering
Gujral notes that businesses need to start by asking themselves if they are doing enough, and by using a variety of wellbeing options.
There is still a stigma surrounding mental health, but Gujral comments that digital products can actually help in this area: “With technology, employees can confidentially access instant support. Being able to ask for help online, without having to contact their manager or HR professional, can help many employees take the first step.
“They can make use of a personalized experience, all while coming to terms with their feelings and in time learn to be open with those they know about their mental health.
“What we are seeing at MYNDUP is that technology is an accelerator for the breaking down of stigma, as if used correctly, it can give those who need it access to real human care without the barrier of having to speak to someone within the business, stopping them from getting them the best help.”
Further detailing the importance of technology, Gujral comments: “Technology can make a massive difference, and organizations will look to continue to invest in solutions outside of EAP and insurance, which alone aren’t enough for employee needs and don’t cover what is actually required.
“Employees are still suffering and confused as to where to go for support in the workplace. Especially with the rapidly changing working environment today, organizations need to conduct an assessment of where the gaps are within the company. When there are multiple, scattered solutions, not everything can be covered and employees just won’t know where to go.”
This need for technology in wellbeing prompted discussion about the plans for MYNDUP’s growth, Gujral comments: “There is still a lot for us to do to make sure that we really put MYNDUP on the map.
“As well as recruiting more team members, a top priority for us is global expansion to help more people across the world. We are also looking to implement artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities into the product, to create a fantastic matching service that can pair users with a practitioner and/or specialism based on how the employee is feeling.
“Finally, we will be entering into series A funding next year, once we have hit our first million in revenue. There is still a lot to do, but I truly believe that MYNDUP has the capability to open people up to a new world of being intuitive with their mental health. We aim to make this subject a normal talking point, as it always should be.”
The future looks bright for MYNDUP and using it to diversify a wellbeing offering could improve the outlook for employees as well.