Mental Health Training

Moodbeam: Communicating Feelings

Posted by on 15 Apr, 2021 in Mental Health |

Moodbeam: Communicating Feelings

At Mind Matters we are always keen to explore new products that assist people to better manage their own and others mental health and wellbeing, so it was with great pleasure that we were linked up with Christina and the team at Moodbeam and introduced to the Moodbeam One.

With access to a small number of Moodbeam One devices, our team were able to try out the technology and understand the potential individual benefit at the same time as thinking about how Moodbeam may be able to benefit our clients at Mind Matters.

Mind Matters works both nationally and internationally, delivering training within workplaces, schools, and communities of varying sizes. Our courses allow access by individuals as well as organisations who commission courses exclusively for their own employees. The great thing about Moodbeam is it can benefit both, so this immediately captured our interest.

The Moodbeam One is a wearable device – either lanyard or wristband – with the option for the wearer to simply press the yellow button (positive) or blue button (negative) at any time. Expanding on the yellow and blue buttons, these can be tailored via the associated phone app to be recognised as a more person-centred combo e.g:

  • Anxious or Calm
  • Okay or not Okay
  • Happy or Sad, among other combinations

Immediately this opens up many possibilities for its use within areas such as suicide prevention, addiction, and foetal movement for mums to be. I could see some really great potential both within and beyond mental health. When a wearer has pressed the button this information beams across to the downloadable Moodbeam app and user information can be shared with friends, family, and others with whom they wish to share it. It requires digital consent in relation to this which the user must provide before any sharing takes place.

When the app receives input the data starts to build. This is translated into findings which capture the users feelings on dates and times. The charts then indicate trends and patterns and there is also a journal option for building qualitative information to cross reference the quantitative.

As Director and Trainer at Mind Matters I tried out the Moodbeam for a few weeks. I flitted between the anxiety combo which was personally relevant, but also liked the generic feel of okay not okay and eventually swapped to this. Having experienced anxiety throughout my life I am pretty self-aware of my own patterns. For example, my anxiety is often worse in mornings than afternoons and is worse if I’ve had insufficient or disturbed sleep, but the advantage of Moodbeam is that I can reach out to others with the facility to share this info and indication of potential need. This sharing functionality is under my own control, as is the option to input the data in the first place. Now this doesn’t of course identify what exactly, if anything, I need from others, but what it can do is bridge a gap in communication that often exists when people are vulnerable. Time and again I hear the phrases like “please reach out if you are struggling”. Vulnerable people don’t always find reaching out easy or even possible. They may be frightened, they may not know how, or even know how to put their feelings into the right words. Sometimes need is communicated in negative behaviour or in behaviours regarded as socially unacceptable. Moodbeam provides a positive communicator and providing that others take notice of patterns and ‘reach in’ then the likelihood of support of some kind is greater. What benefit any support provides is the next step and perhaps where some of our other interventions such as Mental Health First Aiders come in. The product could in fact be used as part of a support programme for workplace Mental Health First Aiders who by nature of their role need to develop support plans so that they remain well. Providing your MH First Aiders with a Moodbeam One could be a great way of showing your support and appreciation of the role they have taken on to benefit others.

On a personal level I found additional value in the product materials. The wrist band is a really soft texture to touch and there were self-soothing benefits in relation to this. Also the simple knowledge that we can share with loved ones how we feel also provided a sense of psychological catharsis and comfort. This of course is quite personal and benefit (and to what extent) will depend on the individual, just like the control of Moodbeam.

The original concept of Moodbeam was borne out of a mothers’ need to know when her child was experiencing emotional difficulties. As a mum I too share the value in having a device which my children can use to express how they feel and having the comfort in knowing someone is hearing them, albeit not necessarily being with them. Sharing the device with young family members I found they showed more interest in the device than some of the adults, and I remain a believer that this is where its value is maximised. There is perhaps further added value for children and adults with additional needs. As this is the case I feel schools, parents and carers, would find this an interesting product to explore and pilot.

When we take Moodbeam beyond an individual level and start to look at other potential beneficiaries, we see the potential in its use for organisations and clients that we work with. Businesses can benefit from the wider picture that potential data could offer and can also pick up on individuals who are communicating difficulties through their device. This can be considered against any workplace factors. The challenge here is that Moodbeam could be viewed as one of an increasing number of ‘big brother’ technologies across society. Given this I personally feel that employees working in organisations where there is already a positive culture, mutual trust and confidence, and a genuine commitment to employee health and wellbeing would be the ones where the product is likely to be well received and embraced with the good intentions it set out to achieve. I would add further that the product works really well as part of a ‘whole business’ approach to mental wellbeing rather than an isolated intervention, much like many other workplace health interventions, including training.

To respect the privacy of the individual, when used as an organisational tool at work, the only data fed through to the company dashboard is mood data, and this can only take place once a data sharing agreement has been completed between Moodbeam and the organisation or client.

If you or your business would like to purchase a Moodbeam One and try out the device it can be purchased here

For businesses wanting to explore Moodbeam as part of a ‘whole business’ approach to mental health, please contact us so that we can link you up with the team at Moodbeam.

You can learn more about Moodbeam via this vimeo link