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New digital mental health platform empowers businesses and consumers

Facing severe and ongoing anxiety, depression and other mental health risks presented by Covid-19, The Space Between Us is launching a technology-enabled, built-for-purpose, clinically led behaviour change platform that provides mental health access, insights, community support, content and engagement for South Africans in the workplace and individuals on social media. It is a safe space for people to connect and engage meaningfully with mental wellness tools and practitioners that are in touch with the African psyche.

Before Covid-19 struck, it was already reported that 3 out of 10 South African adults had suffered or would suffer from mental disorders during their lifetime; already less than 1 in 10 people living with mental health conditions in our country had been receiving the care they need; and suicide was already the second leading and fastest growing cause of death in the 15-24 age group.

The Space Between Us is fuelled by a purpose to inspire everyone to make looking after their mental health a part of their lifestyle – the same way we look after our physical or financial health. It envisions a world where mental health is everyone’s business so that every person understands why mental health is core to their wellbeing.

Managing Director and Founder Linda Mthenjane, who is a registered and practising clinical psychologist, says now more than ever managers are requesting toolkits and skills to make every employee more resilient and to help them identify and help team members who appear to be struggling with mental illness.

The mental health consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic are staggering. More so when seen alongside a study by IDEA of the London School of Economics and Political Science that found more than R232 billion is lost to productivity – either due to absenteeism or attending work while unwell. Mthenjane explains that the platform is designed to put people at the centre of everything.

She adds, ‘At the centre of us as people, is our mental wellness. When we make it an engaging experience, when we create a sense of belonging infused with empathy, and when it is rich in tools that are both practical and impactful, it becomes a very real possibility.’

The Space Between Us launches with a suite of nine online workshops developed by accredited mental health providers and based on the latest clinical research and data. Each carrying a definitive perspective on Covid-19-related challenges we are all facing, the workshops are vital tools in helping individuals, managers and staff alike to pre-empt, identify and respond to mental health issues, optimising resilience, wellbeing, and performance.

These workshops include:

  • Best Practice in Managing a Remote Team
  • The Adaptive Leader
  • Integrating Home, Work, and Play Series (A Focus on Parents)
  • Cultivating Self Care
  • Taking Control in the Covid New Normal
  • Becoming a Digitally Confident Employee
  • Dealing with Loss and Grief
  • Building Healthy Relationship to Thrive
  • Building Resilience

It is a comfort for corporates to know that these evidence-based mental health training programmes ensure companies meet their legal obligations for a psychologically safe workplace, prevent mental health issues from negatively affecting their bottom line, and equip their workforces to perform at their peak potential.

A core objective is to fight the misconceptions and stigmas around mental health and mental illnesses. In its workshops and training, The Space Between Us educates and encourages non-judgmental phrasing, creating a stigma-free way to discuss mental health, extending this education to its strategic messaging on its social media platforms, including Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn. And much more, Mthenjane assures us, is coming.

Experienced business executive, Andrew le Roux, is Finance Director and Linda’s partner in The Space Between Us. He comments that it is inspiring to know that all the hard work that the team is putting in, has the potential to impact every sphere of society where people are.  He adds, ‘Scalable, accessible, digital technology allows us to reach millions rather than thousands of people and make them part of our mental health community.’

It is an all-encompassing vision that comes in the nick of time. The simple fact is, left untreated and undiagnosed, mental illness will be the leading stumbling block to real economic prosperity for South Africa. But on a more positive note, research also shows us high recovery rates for people dealing with mental health, as well as an increase in their productivity, thanks to a better resilience and the strategies they learn in their healing.

With The Space Between Us at the helm, it is becoming easy to believe that mental health will soon be everyone’s business. Partnering with stakeholders in business, civil society, NGOs, and government, The Space Between Us is on a mission to make mental health everyone’s business. Connect with The Space Between Us on their website, Instagram and LinkedIn pages.

Image credit: Dan Meyers / Unsplash

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