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Case Studies & Research

Reducing Absenteeism and Stress Within the Workplace

Sean Hougan | October 31, 2019

Founded in 1998, this Ontario council represents 2,100 public sector employees across the province of Ontario. The organization works to maintain and improve terms and conditions of employment, and to provide members with leadership support and development opportunities. With mounting workload intensification for these leaders, stress management and mental health support have become a key strategic priority for this organization.

Increasing Absenteeism Due to High Stress

The World Health Organization believes that stress is the global health epidemic of the 21st century. Today we live in a world where depression has become the leading cause of disability worldwide. To combat this, progressive organizations are implementing innovative digital solutions to help employees manage stress and prevent mental illness.

In early 2015 the Executive Director of a Canadian-based council began to recognize the need for mental health support for it’s leaders. He recalls, “We were seeing that leaders increasingly needed to take more time off because they were pushing themselves to the limit both mentally and physically.” He adds, “Workload intensification has become a huge issue for our members.”

With increasing workloads and responsibilities, the work part of work-life integration is taking up more and more time. As a result, leaders are experiencing stress-levels so high that mental and physical health is impacted. Knowing this, the Executive Director began to actively look for preventative solutions to help members build up resilience to stress both at work and at home.

Starling Minds for Mental Health & Stress Management

Later in the year Starling’s Mental Fitness Solution rolled out to leaders across the province to help them manage stress and prevent mental illness. After learning more about Starling, it became clear to the Executive Director and his team that the program had the potential to positively impact the mental health and well-being of all employees.

He shares, “the program deeply spoke to our group, especially the characters and stories used to communicate mental health concepts.” He adds, “the storyline of ‘Virginia’ really resonated with women as they too face the pressures of taking care of their families while managing demanding workloads. So many of the mental health case studies in Starling personalize the experience for them.”

Starling also proved to be an effective solution for employees on stress or mental health leave. He shares, “When we implemented Starling we didn’t think it would be widely used by some of our high-risk cases but we’ve learned these people actually report the greatest benefit from the program.”

Starling Minds has become a valued solution for the organization wherein leaders use the program as a tool to generate discussion and understanding at monthly leadership meetings. The organization’s leaders value that Starling offers them:

  • Evidence-based mental health programs based on cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques that teach strategies to build mental fitness and decrease stress.
  • 24/7 mental health support for times of need especially for those who live in remote communities, who are on stress leave, or who do not have access to EAP programs.
  • A private and confidential tool that removes the concern of stigma as members can get help from the comfort of their homes.
  • Leading mental health education that would only otherwise be taught in one-to-one sessions by a licensed psychologist who has been trained in CBT.
  • A proven program that builds resilience and decreases mental health symptoms such as anxiety, worry, and sadness so that members can be more effective at work and at home.
  • Additional support for family members who can also benefit from Starling’s programs.

Improved Work & Personal Lives

The Executive Director proudly states, “In our most recent data review, we learned that 12% of our people are engaged in the program which is over double the industry standard for other Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs).” He continues, “Our understanding is that EAPs generally have anywhere from 3-6% usage rates so we’re very pleased with the uptake of Starling.”

The most recent data report shows that Starling has made the following impact:

  • 78% of members improve in sadness, anxiety and worry scores
  • 20% move up the mental health continuum to the healthy category
  • Mental fitness challenges improve member anxiety scores by 18%
  • Workplace absenteeism improves by 12%

To learn more on how organizations have transformed their workforce mental health programs, reach out to us at:


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    Sean Hougan

    Sean is a passionate marketing professional who is even more passionate about mental health. She envisions a world wherein communities and societies work together to ensure that everyone has what they need for mental, emotional and physiological wellness.

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