Health Shield donates more than 34,000 free mental health app licenses

Crewe-based friendly society Health Shield has donated more than 34,000 free Thrive mental health app licenses to key workers, charities and students to help them through the Covid-19 pandemic.

In April, the firm teamed up with its mental health partner Thrive to offer 12 months’ free access to its NHS-approved mental wellbeing app. The aim was to offer it to those who may be particularly at risk of suffering from poor mental health during the pandemic or who are working at the frontline in the fight against the virus. Of the 34,000 licenses, more than 23,000 went to NHS trusts, 6,300 to schools and other education establishments and 3,700 to charities.

The Thrive app is NHS-approved and offers high-quality mental health services all in one place, providing psychological tools and techniques to help build resilience, manage stress and cope with anxiety.

A number of local organisations took up the offer, including Douglas Macmillan Hospice in Stoke-on-Trent, Reaseheath College in Nantwich, the Men Unite mental health support group and local medical groups, schools and colleges as well as individual NHS workers.

Malbank School and Sixth Form College in Nantwich rolled out the app to staff and pupils in April, and senior leaders at the school have been delighted with the results.

John Harrison, Headteacher at Malbank School and Sixth Form College [pictured], said: “Having an app that we could direct staff to in this context was fantastic as we were keenly aware of how difficult working from home can be when teachers in particular thrive on the contact we have with one another and the daily interactions with students.

“The Thrive app allowed us to give people a structure to help them reflect and deal with a situation that was very much out of the ordinary and made us worry about our staff in a way we had never conceived of before. Having spoken to some of the students who accessed the system, they too felt it helped them deal with an unpredictable situation that so many of our young people found very tough to navigate. We really appreciated the support and strategies that Thrive contributed to our school.”

Courtney Marsh, CEO at Health Shield, said: “The wide-ranging consequences of Covid-19 have had a severe impact on the nation’s mental health and none more so than on young people and those who are leading the charge in battling the disease. As a local not-for-profit organisation, we wanted to help the wider community who have been most affected and we have been delighted with the take-up of our Thrive app offer and the feedback we have received. We hope we have made a positive difference and played some part in helping those who may need the most support.”

Sarah Singleton, Senior Relationship Manager at Thrive, said: “When we initially partnered with Health Shield, several years ago, it was clear that they were passionate and dedicated with the same values as our team at Thrive. When we discussed the roll out of the Pandemic Support service, it just made immediate sense. And it’s been our pleasure to support them and our users throughout the challenges we are all facing in 2020.

“We can see first hand how individuals have been impacted and within the first 7 days of the UK Lockdown (23rd – 30th March 2020) Thrive and Health Shield were able to help an additional 947 users, via the free support, access help when they needed it most! We hope that our work with Health Shield highlights that there is someone available and that mental health remains high on the agenda as we continue to tackle the long term effects of the pandemic.”