MoodHacker Wants To Create Happier Workplaces

Depression doesn’t just ravage a person’s mental well-being. According to the Centers for Disease Control, depression is also one of the leading causes of workplace absenteeism. It is estimated to cause 200 million lost workdays each year at a cost of $17 billion to $44 billion for employers. Now a health technology company Orcas wants to help boost psychological well-being through a program called MoodHacker that employers can offer to their workers.

Orcas is making the program available through employee assistance program providerChestnut Global Partners. So far, it is being offered to the 50,000 U.S.-based employees of a Fortune 100 manufacturing company.

MoodHacker, which can be accessed through a website and mobile app, combines exercises and techniques from positive psychology and the “Coping with Depression” cognitive behavior therapy program, which was created by Dr. Peter Lewinsohn of theOregon Research Institute. It was further developed by Dr. John Seeley, who worked with ORCAS to adapt the program for MoodHacker.

“MoodHacker aims to activate and engage employees in positive cognitive and behavioral skills to improve their mood, reduce depressive symptoms, and prevent escalation to clinical depression,” Michael Mulvihill, the CEO of ORCAS, said in an email.

Once employees logs onto MoodHacker, it asks them to rate their mood from 1 to 10. It also shows a list of activities sorted into different categories (active, social, productive, mindful, positive, sensory, nurturing, creative) that can potentially improve mental well-being. For example, “active” includes exercise, while “sensory” includes things like “used humor to lighten the mood” or “listened to music.”


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