With 1 in 4 suffering from mental health issues, 20 minute science based test aims to remove stigma of asking for help

The world-leading neuroscience technology company Cambridge Cognition has launched an exciting new online tool for objectively monitoring mental wellbeing and cognitive performance at work: CANTAB BrainHealth™. This tool enables employees to proactively monitor their brain health and wellbeing; facilitating the early identification and intervention of issues to improve both personal wellbeing and occupational performance.

Because of the stigma which still surrounds mental health, issues typically go unreported and unaddressed until symptoms worsen and time away from work is required. This can result in poorer outcomes for the employee and financial ramifications for the employer: 470 million workdays are lost each year in the UK and US alone, costing employers an estimated $225.8 billion per annum1.

While there is a growing awareness of the need to tackle the issue, efforts to date have focused largely on reducing the stigma, increasing education around what mental illness is, and building support services if someone requests help. What has not been addressed is how to enable both employees and employers to proactively identify problems before they affect health and performance.

CANTAB BrainHealth™ is designed to change this by providing occupational health professionals with a fast, accurate and easy-to-use digital health programme to proactively address mental health in the workplace. Performed on-line by the employee, CANTAB BrainHealth™ combines a mental wellbeing questionnaire with gold-standard assessments of key workplace skills, including memory and concentration, in order to identify signs of any underlying mental health issues in under 20 minutes.

The results of the assessment, together with tailored advice, are presented in a report to help occupational health professionals provide support and guidance where necessary. Follow-up assessments can then be used to monitor the individual’s health over time; helping to track their progress.

To reduce stigma and maximise uptake, Cambridge Cognition envisages CANTAB BrainHealth™ integrating seamlessly alongside existing employee wellbeing and health benefits, for example as part of an annual physical health check-up.

Dr Jenny Brockis, an independent brain health and workplace performance consultant said: “For both employers and employees the availability of CANTAB BrainHealth™ promises a real breakthrough in tackling the stigma of mental health issues in the workplace. The objective mood and cognition assessments are sensitive to the potential presence of an underlying mental health condition, facilitating early intervention before productivity and performance are impacted. This will help promote a workplace culture of care that has the potential of improving wellbeing for employees and reducing the costs of absenteeism, presenteeism and high staff turnover for employers.”

Dr Jenny Barnett, Chief Scientific Officer, Cambridge Cognition said: “Tackling mental health issues at work concerns us all. The launch of CANTAB BrainHealth™ will provide occupational health professionals with a new, proactive method of assessing and monitoring mental health and wellbeing for the benefit of employees and employers.”

Cambridge Cognition is a neuroscience technology company developing digital health products to better understand, detect and treat conditions affecting brain health. The company’s software products assess cognitive health in patients worldwide to improve clinical trial outcomes, identify and stratify patients early, and reduce global R&D and healthcare costs.

Sources: 1-WMHD Mental Health in the Workplace Report 2017. World Federation for Mental Health, 2017.