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Integrated fitness tracker, mobile health app potentially improves teachers’ mental wellness – study

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Corporate mental wellness platform MindFi and Fitbit (now part of Google) have undertaken a pilot study to assess the impact of using a combined fitness wearable device and mental health app on users. 

Their 10-week study engaged around 100 public school teachers in Singapore and evaluated their progress and lifestyle changes, including activity level, sleep and heart rate.

FINDINGS

Based on the survey, six in 10 participants said they are dealing with high levels of emotional exhaustion while over 50% reportedly have moderate to high-stress levels before the opening of a new school term. 

When they started using the combined health tech solutions, 60% of the participants saw a significant boost in their overall well-being and 42% said their physical health improved.  

The study also found that 54% reported better sleep quality and 45% showed an improvement in their resting heart rate.

In terms of mental health, depressive symptoms decreased among 58% of the participants; 57% said they were able to better cope with their workload. 

By the end of the study, 68% of the teachers said they would recommend the integrated MindFi and Fitbit solutions to colleagues.

WHY IT MATTERS

Local counselling service Singapore Counselling Centre conducted a survey last year where they found that among over 1,000 teachers, around 80% said their work has badly impacted their mental health during the pandemic. They cited the long work hours – clocking in more than 45 hours a week – as one reason. Over 60% of the participants also mentioned that their physical health was failing while 33% said they had become sickly.

THE LARGER TREND

In an effort to support the mental well-being of overworked and burned-out teachers, the Ministry of Education, together with the Ministry of Health Office for Healthcare Transformation, launched in late August an online portal that offers tips and strategies to manage their mental health and address workload issues. Called Mindline at Work for MOE, the online resource complements ongoing initiatives such as health screenings and wellness talks to support teachers’ health.

ON THE RECORD

MindFi and Fitbit’s latest study showed that an integrated wearable and mental health app solution could empower users to self-manage their overall health and well-being.

“With the increase in stress and burnout levels in the last two years, these results are further proof of the great role wearable technology and wellness solutions can play in driving positive behaviour change in populations,” said Steve Morley, director of Fitbit Health Solutions International and APAC. 

“The exciting results of our pilot study show that physical and mental health are closely related. Specifically, it shows that the future of mental health is to integrate it into our daily lifestyles via devices such as wearables,” noted MindFi founder and CEO Bjorn Lee. The study, he also mentioned, has emphasised the change that businesses need to make in their HR policies.

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