By Natashya Fernandez
At last week’s liturgical launch of his 2017 Christmas Appeal for LifeLink, Perth Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB, reinforced the message of Pope Francis on poverty, caring for the marginalised, and the upcoming World Day of the Poor.
This year the appeal will focus of the works of some of LifeLink’s supported agencies including, Centrecare Inc, through their leading employee assistance program provider, Access Wellbeing Services launched a new, free app – ReSILnZ™, during Mental Health Week.
Executive Manager Rod West spoke to The eRecord about ReSILnZ™, the benefits of the app and how it is helping West Australians build their resilience, wellbeing and mental strength through exercise and activities.
“Whether or not a person develops psychological stress or a psychological injury at work depends on the balance between their exposure to stress and their coping resources. So if the level of stress is too large for a person’s coping resources, they can run into trouble.”
While resilient people cope and bounce back, there are some who don’t, he added.
“And that’s where our new app, ReSILnZ™ comes in. It provides the perfect mechanism by which this can occur. Resilience thinking skills are skills everybody can use and will benefit from. They can be taught at any age and are useful at any age.
“Launched during Mental Health Week, the RESILnZ™ app focuses on the 90 plus per cent of the workforce that is fundamentally ‘well’, but at widely varying levels of mental fitness and wellbeing.
“The goal is to create a workforce, and ultimately a community of ‘optimally fit’ individuals who can overcome stress-producing events and grow from these experiences,” Mr West explained.
A free, universal app, RESILnZ™ uses a range of features to build an individual’s mental strength through resilience exercises to build physical and psychological wellbeing, mood monitoring to track moods as frequently as possible, guided meditations to help people new to meditation, and goal setting capabilities as well as podcast episodes. The app also comes with a secure login, personal profile and an overall wellbeing score.
Mr West added that in contrast to many of the mental health apps, RESILnZ™ is aimed at the prevention of, and early intervention in, people’s everyday activities and experiences that may result in poor mental health and wellbeing.
“To this end the features of the app are targeted at some of the most common physical and psychological experiences that are known to have negative impacts on mental health and wellbeing.”
Mr West also said that the app is focused on the prevention of stress and enhancement of wellbeing through building individual resilience strategies and techniques, rather than treating people who are already experiencing mental health issues.
“While the app may benefit people who are experiencing some mild mental health issues, we strongly encourage people to seek specialist medical advice and support if they believe that they may be experiencing concerns about their mental health,” he said.
Unique in its offerings, Mr West explained that the name of the app is a play on the word resilience.
“This is a key feature of the work that we seek to undertake as an employee assistance program and a key feature that is widely recognised as contributing positively to individual, familial and community wellbeing and managing various challenges throughout the lifespan.
Access Wellbeing Services Director Tony Pietropiccolo AM revealed mental illness costs the Australian economy about $190 billion a year, or 12 per cent of gross domestic product.
“One in four young people has a mental illness and Australia loses nine million working days from mental illnesses each year.
“From working in the sectors for over 70 years, we have seen a huge need for people to begin to develop their own skills and ability to look after themselves and their wellbeing, especially their mental health. So this app is really is an attempt to provide them with some tools which they can do day-to-day.
“It provides you with various features such as meditation, exercises, activities and podcasts so people can hook into them when they are having stressful times and calm themselves,” Mr Pietropiccolo added.
To know more visit, http://www.resilnz.com.au/, or download, Resilnz™ for free on iTunes, Google Play & Windows Store. The app is available worldwide and allows users to connect through their Fitbit and Garmin watches to monitor the relationship between their heart-rate and mind.