Discovery Vitality launches Vitality mental wellbeing module and rewards; partners with Miss South Africa on awareness campaign

29 March 2021 Discovery

As part of this mental wellbeing drive, Vitality is also delighted to announce a new campaign, with Miss South Africa, to raise awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing.

Discovery Vitality is excited to announce the introduction of the mental wellbeing module to Vitality. Members can now track their mindful minutes and sleep goals on partner apps, including Headspace, Calm, The Mindfulness App and buddhify, in the Vitality Active Rewards platform. Members will be rewarded with Discovery Miles for taking proactive steps towards their mental health and wellbeing.

An innovative digital intervention to address a global challenge

Mental health concerns are a prevalent part of everyday life, affecting our thoughts and emotions as well as our health behaviours.

• Worldwide, more than one billion people are affected by mental or addictive disorders – around 16% of the world’s population
• According to the South African Stress and Health (SASH) study, the lifetime prevalence for any mental disorder among South Africans was found to be 30%

Improving mental wellbeing and resilience is integral to overall health. “We know that mental and physical health are connected. While living with a chronic condition increases the risk for developing poor mental health, the opposite is also true – poor mental health increases the risk for developing chronic conditions,” explains Dr Mosima Mabunda, Vitality’s Head of Wellness. “For example, depression is associated with an 18% higher risk of type 2 diabetes. This may be because people with a mental health condition find it more difficult to manage their physical health.”

Vitality data supports the impact of healthy lifestyle behaviours on mental wellbeing:

• Physical inactivity is associated with 4 times more reported psychological distress.
• Unhealthy food purchases are associated with 1.7 times more reported psychological distress.

“This highlights the importance of preventative behaviours for both mental and physical health,” says Dr Mabunda. “These include mindfulness-based meditation – which has been shown to be useful in improving mental wellbeing – and adequate sleep. Physical activity and good nutrition have a well-established positive impact on our health,” she notes. “This is what drove us to more purposefully and formally integrate mental wellbeing into the Vitality programme.”

Not getting enough sleep negatively affects our physical and mental health

One in three adults suffers from poor sleep. While an occasional sleepless night won't harm your health, studies show that not getting enough sleep on a regular basis has been linked to increased mortality and several health conditions, including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular diseases and obesity. It may also lead to long-term mood disorders, like depression and anxiety.

“We have applied our understanding of behavioural science to nudge our members to adopt healthy sleeping habits,” says Dr Mabunda. “While many factors can affect our sleep, tracking the amount of sleep we get is a good start. So is developing habits that improve sleep, like keeping regular sleeping hours or incorporating relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation.”

How the programme works

Vitality members earn 500 points for completing mental wellbeing assessments online. These are based on key areas that influence our overall state of mental wellbeing, including sleep, resilience, depression and anxiety. After completing the assessments, members activate the mental wellbeing module in the Vitality Active Rewards programme. They can download a mindfulness app of their choice (Calm, Headspace, buddhify or The Mindfulness App) to track their mindful minutes and link their Garmin and Apple devices to track their sleep.

In addition, the Vitality Mental-Wellbeing channel shares free tools, available to anyone, to improve mental wellbeing. These include videos, podcasts and tips from experts.

Partnering with Miss South Africa to raise awareness

As part of this mental wellbeing drive, Vitality is also delighted to announce a new campaign, with Miss South Africa, to raise awareness of the importance of mental wellbeing. The flagship initiative of the collaboration will be a series of topical discussions on the Miss South Africa #MindfulMonday digital broadcasts. The #MindfulMonday initiative was launched in February and has featured a multitude of mental health experts covering a variety of important issues including depression, anxiety, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Miss South Africa 2020, Shudufhadzo Musida, and Vitality Clinical Wellness Specialist and mental health expert, Dr Seranne Motilal, will be live on #MindfulMonday on 29 March 2021, on Facebook Live and Instagram Live, discussing the role of sleep, mindfulness, exercise and nutrition on mental wellbeing.

“We have always been driven to educate and empower our members to prioritise mental wellbeing in managing overall health,” says Dr Motilal. She adds, “The partnership with Miss South Africa, an increasingly powerful voice in this space, is opportune and meaningful at a time when so many South Africans are taking mental and emotional strain.”

Dr Motilal concludes: “Mental wellness must be a priority for all South Africans. So, in addition to these exciting new initiatives for our Vitality members, we have a number of resources available to all South Africans on the Vitality at Home site. These include mental wellbeing articles, podcasts and breathwork videos as well as home-workout videos and nutritious recipes.”

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