Pilot Study # 1: Eight Week Psychological Resilience Program.

The Effectiveness of Our 8 Week WISE Resilience Program for Child Protection Practitioners (2015)

 

Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to assess whether our eight week WISE Resilience program would improve resilience, health and psychological outcomes (stress, depression and anxiety) for employees, in particular Child Protection Practitioners, in the West Division at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Methods: The pilot study explored the impact of attention training on all levels of awareness, psychological well-being, depression, anxiety, tension/stress, sleep, resilience and coping ability. In addition, the study attempted to determine the impact of eight weeks of training  on blood pressure scores. Data was collected from participants pre and post intervention, as well as one month post program.

Results: The Pilot showed improvement in all levels of mindfulness, psychological well-being measures and stress, as well as in resting blood pressure scores. The findings suggest that an eight week psychological resilience program reduces mental stress and enhances psychological well-being, sleep and coping ability. Negative correlations between mindfulness behaviour and depression scores were found, illustrating that as awareness increased, psychological distress decreased. Higher correlations post intervention were also found indicating a clear association between low awareness and high depression, anxiety and stress scores (and vice versa). A wide range of physical difficulties such as anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia and migraines were also alleviated.

 

 

Perceived Stress

·        96% reported feeling calmer and more relaxed.
·        81% stated they were less ‘reactive’ and more able to recognise when they were in default mode.

·        58% of participants are still performing regular relaxation, awarness, mindfulness meditation or other stress reduction activities. This has increased from 20%.

Psychological Distress

·        93% stated they had coped better with difficult or stressful situations

·        An overall reduction in DASS scores(Depression, Anxiety, Stress) scores post intervention

·        A negative correlation coefficient found between awareness and DASS Scores.

Attention & Awareness

·        94% of participants had increases in their MAAS Score.

·        90% found their concentration and focus had improved

·        83% reported they were better able to listen attentively and communicate effectively

Sleep

·        66% reported improvements in sleep post intervention

Blood Pressure

·        Normal healthy range increased from 19.7% to 65.8%

·        Isolated Hypertension decreased from 21% to 9.8%

Post-intervention Follow-up

·        66% of participants still frequently using the resilience tools and coping mechanisms at work.

·        84% still participating in frequent informal or formal awareness practices.

 

Conclusion: The Pilot Study has shown to be acceptable with potential merit as a proactive workplace mental health intervention for anyone looking to improve psychological safety in their organisation.  The data collected has shown the WISE Resilience program effectively improves psychological resilience, health and psychological outcomes (perceived stress, and depression and anxiety scores) for employees at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

 

Pilot Study # 2: Combined Musculoskeletal Health & Psychological Resilience Program.

The Effectiveness of our WISE Worker  Program for Disability Carers (2016)

 

Overview: The WISE Worker program is a four week musculoskeletal health and resilience program designed to prevent injuries, reduce stress and improve psychological wellbeing. The curriculum is designed to teach participants how to integrate and apply mindfulness into their everyday lives, as well as how they can protect themselves from pain and injuries at home and in the workplace. Embedded within the context of mind/body and Integrative Medicine, the program teaches evidence-based practices and tools to assist with attention, self-regulation, as well as workplace morale. Practical guided instruction from the facilitator assists with improving flexibility, reducing pain, increasing blood flow and circulation, promoting relaxation and improving overall wellbeing.

Methods: We explored the impact of self-awareness, goal setting, health screening, education and practical exercises on clinical health outcomes. We determined the impact of four weeks of training on blood pressure, flexibility, core strength, hydration, metabolic age, stress levels, sleep and self-reported feelings of wellbeing. Mental health and personal injury data was collected from the participant’s pre and post intervention, as well as at the completion of the program and one month post program.

Results: The WISE Worker program showed noticeable improvements in core strength, hamstring flexibility, hydration and metabolic age, as well as large reductions in resting systolic blood pressure scores. A number of personal goals were achieved throughout the four week program and positive health behaviours were cultivated. Self-reported data, as well as written testimonials, revealed numerous benefits ranging from increased self-awareness, better team cohesion, ability to be more mindful at home and at work, improved coping ability, increased ability to protect from injuries, as well reduced stress levels.

 

Positive Health Behaviours

·        87% of participants achieved at least one of the three health goals they set at the start of the program.

·       89% stated they had become better at self-nourishment (i.e. more exercise, more water, less smoking, better food choices, more relaxation etc.)

·        94% of participants are performing injury prevention techniques at least once during their shift.·

·        94% of participants are now performing injury prevention techniques at home.

Clinical Health Outcomes

·        66% of participants had a reduction in their systolic blood pressure.

·        37% had a reduction in their metabolic age (i.e. an increase in their metabolism).

·        49% had an increase in their hydration levels.

Perceived Stress

·        87% reported feeling calmer and more relaxed.

·        80% stated they were less ‘reactive’ and more able to recognise when they were in default mode.

·        93% stated they had coped better with difficult or stressful situations.

Musculoskeletal Outcomes

·        73% of participants had an increase in their hamstring flexibility.

·        There was a noticeable increase in core strength (the number of staff who could do an unassisted sit- up increased).

General Wellness

·        63% reported improvements in sleep post-program.

·        86% stated they feel better in their body, have more energy and are moving more freely.

·        69% found their concentration and focus had improved.

Team Building

·        85% reported they were better able to listen attentively and communicate effectively

·        A number of staff and managers reported staff were working better as a team and noticed increased positivity and engagement.