MAKE A DIFFERENCE | workplace culture / mental health / wellbeing

Louis Gagnon, CEO, Total Brain: Responding to the Impact of COVID on Our Collective Health and Resilience

Louis Gagnon is the acclaimed CEO of mental health and brain performance self-monitoring and self-care platform Total Brain. We are delighted that Louis will be joining us to Chair a panel at the digital Make A Difference US Summit in association with Mind Share Partners on 15 October.

Make a Difference Digital Summit US in association with Mind Share Partners is North America’s premier digital conference and exhibition addressing workplace culture, mental health and wellbeing.

In this interview Louis gives a sneak peek of the perspective he’ll be bringing to the agenda.

As CEO of Total Brain, what are some of your key priorities in terms of supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your workforce?

  1. Promote self-awareness of the difference between mental health and mental illness and how to measure it
  2. Provide access to the right professional care at the right time
  3. Provide access to science-backed self-care programs and tools
  4. Build self-care into our corporate processes and rhythm

Can you explain what the Total Brain Index is and about its origins?

The Mental Health Index: U.S. Worker Edition contains data drawn from a weekly randomized sample of 500 working Americans taken from a larger universe of Total Brain users. The Index is NOT a survey or a poll. Data is culled from neuroscientific brain assessments using standardized digital tasks and questions from the Total Brain platform.

Participants include workers from all walks of life and regions, job levels, occupations, industries, and types of organizations (public vs. private). The brain assessments used to compile the Mental Health Index were taken weekly since February 3, 2020.  It was created to raise awareness about the impact that life events like COVID has on our mental health and to mobilize society to fight the current mental health crisis.

What kind of influence do you think the Index has had on the way employers are directing their staff mental health strategies through the COVID-19 crisis? Do you have any specific examples from employers?

The Index was launched in April 2020.  On a monthly basis, the Index is shared and discussed via webinar with top CHROs and Healthcare decision-makers belonging to the HR Policy Association, The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions and One-Mind at Work.

This webinar attracts more than 300 such decision-makers from F-500 companies each month.  Dozens of them have started confidential discussions to implement Total Brain.  Anecdotally, dozens more are leveraging the Index data to re-evaluate their entire approach to mental health.

Have the Total Brain Index results had any influence on your internal practices as a company?

It certainly has confirmed something we knew, i.e. COVID, the economic crisis, the US political crisis and the climate change crisis have taken and are continuing to take their toll on our collective health and resilience.

As a result, we decided to invent a digital format of our 3-day quarterly corporate retreat which we executed last week with great success.  This period calls for rejuvenating, building relationships and sharing as much business information as possible.

Based on the trends you’ve seen with the Index, what is the one thing that stands out which you’d want leaders to be aware of in planning mental health support for their people?

  1. 70% of US workers are somewhat impaired by a mental condition
  2. Mental health risk has gone down significantly since June but is still ~30-50% higher than baseline which was already at “crisis” level
  3. The risk has started to affect our cognitive capacities which impacts our productivity
  4. Millennials (age 20-39) and women need very special attention as they seem to be overly affected.

At the digital Make a Difference Summit US in association with Mind Share Partners you will learn how to create inclusive mental health and wellbeing plans with a preventative, personalized approach for any sized workforce, reinvent the ‘new normal’, and learn best practices from companies leading the way as the pandemic unfolds.

Register here using the code MADUSA50 for 50% off your ticket. Or, if your company is bringing 10+ guests, sign up with our corporate pass for a flat one-price ticket ($1,000) with unlimited seats (our best deal for teams).