Business Woman in tech. Stronger together, Happy women or girls standing together , girls, power, strong, strength, feminism Feminine, woman empowerment, vector illustration.

How tech can help support women’s mental health

Business Woman in tech. Stronger together, Happy women or girls standing together , girls, power, strong, strength, feminism Feminine, woman empowerment, vector illustration.Article by Juliet Bauer, UK Managing Director, Livi

From research to diagnoses, even in 2022 women’s health is often still an afterthought. This is a problem that starts long before the doctor’s surgery, and it has serious implications for individuals and society as a whole. 

Many of these problems are systemic, bound up in the social inequality we see expressed in the gender pay gap, and lack of senior female leaders, especially in healthcare. But they’re not impossible to overcome, and at Kry Livi we are working hard to make healthcare more accessible, fair and equitable.

Kry Livi is Europe’s largest digital healthcare provider, and as a senior leader I feel a personal responsibility to harness the power of digital and improve healthcare for everyone.

By involving thousands of clinicians and hundreds of thousands of patients across the UK, Sweden, Norway, France and Germany, digital healthcare has the potential to effect change on a massive scale.

This year we will boost access to a range of secondary and specialist services, including mental health. Already available in Sweden, we have just launched our Online Therapy service in the UK.

Recent research commissioned by Kry Livi found that almost 50% of people in the UK feel more stressed now than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic. The reasons might not surprise you – work pressure and financial concerns are both among the main stress factors as the cost of living continues to rise.

What was particularly notable is that more women (61%) reported feeling stressed than men (47%), with one in three feeling stress every day. Alongside work and money, concern for friends and relatives was one of the main stressors we identified, perhaps reflecting the extra care burden many women experience.

Long-term stress can make people more susceptible to mental and emotional ill health. For those feeling significant levels of stress every day, it’s important to seek help.

We know that many women find it challenging to carve out the time for in-person appointments, and this is where the flexibility of digital consultations can help improve access, and make it easier for women to get the help they need. Our new Online Therapy service allows patients to receive talking therapy via video consultation at home, at a time that suits them, in a safe and secure online environment.

Of course, it is better that people are not exposed to excessive levels of stress in the first place. Our findings, showing high levels of financial and work-related stress among women, should also make us all reflect on our own workplace culture, and how we can create an environment in which both women and men can thrive and progress.

At Livi we’ve supported managers to remove gendered language from job descriptions, and trained our people to understand and interrupt bias throughout the selection process. We’ve improved representation in our talent pipelines and we know the value of diverse interview panels. And we will continue to educate, and re-engineer processes where necessary to mitigate bias.

We also recognised early on the disproportionate impact the pandemic has had on women. Many have been shouldering a greater proportion of parental duties during lockdown, so we provided support to working parents and caregivers to flex their hours and re-prioritise their work.

But we go beyond that. Our managers work with their teams on a one-to-one basis to understand individual circumstances and find the right support solution for each person. This framework is now a formalised way of working – we agree with every employee how and where they can best perform.

As a result, Women represent just over 50% of our upper pay quartile, indicating equal representation at the most senior level. In fact, the data shows that there is a higher proportion of women compared to men across all pay quartiles.

This makes Livi almost unique among tech companies in that our gender pay gap is closed – I mean to keep it that way. We owe it to our patients to ensure our own house is in order, as we harness the power of digital to improve access and make healthcare more equitable.