Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Infinit Care and was produced by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the production of this piece.
Until recent years, workplace mental healthcare in the Philippines was considered more of a case-to-case concern than an everyday priority. Often, it only becomes actionable for organizations when employees are already displaying extreme signs of duress. Even then, the response may be relegated to a matter of just taking a leave.
For Infinit Care general manager Anne Ordoña, this is a practice the company is working to change. “Many of the approaches when it comes to mental health just look at one aspect, which is when you are mentally ill [and] are already having difficulty coping with life’s challenges. We believe that that’s just a very narrow approach,” says Ordoña.
Now, the needs of the workforce have evolved to put sustainable mental health at the forefront of their concerns, and Infinit Care understands how to move with this shift.
Infinit Care is a mental healthcare provider that specializes in workplace wellbeing. Launched in 2020, the company seeks to provide customized and accessible mental health services for every individual in a workforce. The company provides a platform of services which include virtual counseling from licensed professionals, a 24/7 chat helpline, mood tracking tools and personalized mental wellness content.
Infinit Care understands the singular nature of every organization – and even down to every individual – and combines this with harnessing the potentials of technology. Through this, the company positions itself as a proponent for a technology-driven, future-forward approach to workplace mental healthcare in the Philippines.
Viewing mental health as a spectrum
Infinit Care’s approach is guided by the Mental Health Continuum framework, which posits that mental health must be seen as a spectrum instead of a definite state. Individuals constantly slide along this spectrum, and most are in fact in the “green zone” of the scale. “It doesn’t mean that when you’re okay, you don’t need help. Because when you’re okay, you also want to stay in that state and continue as much as we can,” says Infinit Care head of clinical care, Shyne Mangulabnan.
With this perspective, companies should be able to provide support to each employee, wherever they are on this scale. “Where Infinit Care comes in is we recognize that people in crisis are just a small percentage in an organization at any given point in time,” says Ordoña. “If their focus as a company is just on what we call the ‘red zone’ or the mentally ill zone, you’re disregarding everyone else. You’ve become more reactive than proactive.”
For a better understanding, Ordoña likens it to maintaining physical health. “It doesn’t mean that if you are healthy, physically, you stop looking after your health. You will still eat well, sleep properly, and exercise even if you’re not sick. In the same way, when it comes to looking after your mental health, it’s all about making sure that you get the right kind of support wherever you may be on that spectrum.”
Meeting companies where they’re at on mental healthcare
In order to create tailor-fit packages for their clients, the Infinit Care team creates a close relationship with partner companies to thoroughly understand their culture, pressing concerns, and their overall mental health goals.
The approach involves an assessment from the diverse consultants available within Infinit Care, from tech support to mental health. “We all bring in our knowledge to make [our services] more accessible, technology-driven, and based on mental health research and Psychology. We bring in our years of experience, from partnering with different companies and businesses in terms of helping them with their mental health initiative,” says Mangulabnan.
It is vital to assess where the company is at in terms of mental healthcare to properly bridge the gaps towards sustained support. “There are organizations that are still in the very, very early stages, and really may have started out of compliance,” shares Ordoña. “There are some organizations that are more progressive and advanced in their well-being approach, hence we work with them in making their programs more sustainable.”
Empowering employees to take charge of their mental health
The key initiative that Infinit Care champions is letting employees access mental health services at their own pace, based on their needs wherever they are in the spectrum. For employees to better understand their state of mind, Infinit Care recommends a test modeled after the scientifically-backed World Health Organization Well Being Index, with which Infinit Care’s app platform bases its recommendations on.
“For example, if you’re someone who is really healthy, what you see in your app is more suggestions and self care,” says Ordoña. “Your content will be about taking care of your mental health, how nutrition can support your mental health, the kinds of exercises [the individual] can do to sustain your mental health.”
If the employee is moving towards the “red zone” of the spectrum, the app also adjusts accordingly. “For someone who’s going through, let’s say, anxiety or depression, they will find content that’s relevant to their current mental health challenge. They would see more articles on how it’s okay to ask for help, understanding depression, how different it is from anxiety, what are the signs and red flags, and how you can ask for help.”
At this point in time, the Filipino workforce has moved way beyond band-aid solutions for commonplace mental health issues like burnout, stress, and anxiety. As understanding of mental health deepens in the country, so has the rightful demand for employers to provide psychologically safe environments grown stronger – and companies must now walk the talk.
Thankfully, mental healthcare providers like Infinit Care are leading the charge on fostering long-term initiatives and strategies that address every worker’s unique concerns. – Rappler.com