Pursuing greater clarity in workplace mental health

Mel Joseph, Founder, Mente

Mente is a new organisation supporting businesses with how they manage mental health. Now, thanks to the expert assistance available via Lancaster University’s Health Innovation Campus – backed up by two graduate internships from Unite Plus – Mente’s founder Mel Joseph says she is one step closer to her vision of improved transparency, understanding, and standards across the mental health and wellbeing market.

 Launched in early 2017, Mente draws on Mel’s background in creating business solutions, as well as her experiences and training in mental health. The company offers a one-stop solution that provides employers and their employees with access to a suite of courses, diagnostics and signposting to professional services, across the spectrum of mental health from early intervention to recovery.

‘The cost of poor mental health for business and the economy as a whole runs to almost £100bn a year,’ Mel says. ‘The Stevenson/Farmer Review, in October 2017, called for more research into the ROI around mental health interventions and really highlighted the need for greater transparency and comparability of Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs). It confirmed my concerns about this unregulated market: businesses aren’t sure what to do and don’t know what they’re getting.’

Hoping to create an independent comparison site to sit alongside the Mente platform, Mel approached Lancaster University for help. As the University builds towards its world-class Health Innovation Campus, Lancashire businesses are able to work with dedicated teams including the School of Computing and Communications to apply the latest digital skills and develop game-changing ideas for the health sector, with funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Over 12 weeks, a specialist team of Software Developers developed an innovative ranking algorithm for EAPs and designed a prototype system, the first of its kind. They were assisted in this by the work of a graduate intern from the Unite Plus placement programme through the careers department and also funded through the European Regional Development Fund. The student conducted in-depth research focusing on the best way to make comparisons between products.

Mel now has a live wireframe and is working on the look of it. ‘I couldn’t have done it without Lancaster University,’ she says. ‘Not only has it helped me to shape the system, but this is so new and different it has also excited and challenged the team. Businesses should remember that a university isn’t just there for teaching students – it’s there to help business.’

 With Mel’s company already showing employers the commercial benefits of compliance, there is plenty of positive interest in her new venture, she says. ‘It is a very exciting time for us, we have some interesting meetings planned with the Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, and the Director for Public Health – watch this space!’

To find out about opportunities for your business email business.healthinnovation@lancaster.ac.uk or contact 01524 595005 to speak to the team.  



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