Supportiv CEO & Co-Founder Helena Plater-Zyberk and Walmart’s Senior Director of Health & Wellbeing Mike Jansen address the smashing success of Supportiv as a novel solution to support Walmart’s workforce, at this year’s Going Digital Behavioral Healthcare Technology Conference.

In their talk entitled “Beyond Therapy and EAPs: Walmart & Supportiv Show the Impact of Peer-To-Peer Support,” Plater-Zyberk and Jansen speak to the lessons learned through Walmart and Supportiv’s partnership.

One lesson is just how desperate the workforce is for novel mental health solutions. According to Jansen, “No two people are alike, we all engage a little differently. Some want face to face, but many do not. Many want to self educate and talk to others who are like them, understand how other real people are coping in the moment. Supportiv has helped fill that gap and it’s been really successful.”

Despite no internal promotion, Walmart Associates have taken quickly to the Supportiv platform as a way to cope with the never-ending barrage of stress since the advent of COVID.

Walmart leadership has been surprised by employee engagement despite no internal promotion, and is excited to see where the program can go as they promote Supportiv going forward. Jansen shares: “I’m getting excited here because–I think of what we’ve done to promote Supportiv, and it’s been absolutely nothing. That’s going to change, but the reality is, what you guys have been able to do and how you’ve resonated with our associate base and our population has just been incredible. You’re touching them in the moment, where they’re at, on their social media, and bringing them in. They’re engaging with the platform and that’s huge. I can’t say enough about that, it’s just incredible.”

What makes Supportiv different and appealing to wider groups of employees? Plater-Zyberk points out that Supportiv does not aim to diagnose or treat people. Instead, the goal is to help people feel seen as individual human beings.

In lieu of forms and assessments, Supportiv uses Natural Language Processing to extract meaning from what people say, in their own words. And building on that technology, Supportiv offers both Natural Language Understanding (moving from simple processing to finding opportunities for collaborative problem solving) and Natural Language Navigation™ (connecting individuals to resources, helping navigate through an employer’s benefits ecosystem).

Users leave Supportiv with tools from the behavioral health world, to bring with them outside of the chat. In this way, Supportiv takes the concept of a neighborly conversation and gives it a structure, making sure people stay on a forward trajectory. This concept appeals to people who don’t usually “raise their hands” for mental health services–Supportiv users from Walmart are 43% men and 32% non-white.

Another benefit to employers using this system? Anonymized data on employee needs, how employees are using resources, what they’re asking for, etc. This data has enabled Walmart to roll out further, additional services based on what they’re learning. There is value in learning “Here’s what your people are saying and here’s how we’re connecting them to other resources you’re offering.”

As Supportiv continues to grow and serve new groups beyond its 1.1 million users to date, the company welcomes inquiries from employers and health plans on how online peer support and Conversational Care™ can help meet the ever-changing emotional needs of America’s workforce.

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