When faced with stress, anxiety and fear, many either lose focus on day to day chores or keep to themselves their worries. This mental stress could test a person’s stability. Counseling and genuine listening often offer a solution to troubled individuals.
Globe saw an opportunity to extend hope and help to people who have difficulty ‘opening up’ to counseling by introducing HopeChat, a platform co-developed with its partner, Australia-based Virtual Psychologist (VP).
A first in the country, Globe piloted the service to its over 8,000 employees in July 2020 to help them cope with the psychological impact caused by COVID-19.
“Many people, our employees included, who are suffering from emotional and mental stress are sometimes too shy or afraid to talk. With HopeChat, our employees are able to get improved access to counseling and support that strongly resonates with their needs,” said Renato Jiao, Globe Chief Human Resource Officer.
HopeChat uses the chat function of Facebook messenger, making counseling private, convenient, and less intrusive. This gives users a level of comfort they cannot get from voice, video, or face-to-face interactions.
“We’ve found that for a lot of people, it’s too confronting to speak with a psychologist face to face in a room. Sometimes, picking up the phone and talking is hard for someone going through challenges, but even though most people won’t talk, almost everyone will, at the very least, communicate over text or messenger,” said Dervla Loughnane, Founder of Virtual Psychologist.
HopeChat allowed Globe employees to chat with licensed psychologists in Filipino, English, Ilonggo, or Ilocano. With text-based messages, users were assured of privacy, safety, and confidentiality and were also given an opportunity to review and reflect on the discussion that took place.
HopeChat was given positive reviews among users and provided a satisfaction level of 97 percent. About 98 percent said they are likely to recommend it to friends and family members and are willing to talk to a counselor again if the need arises. At least 94 percent also felt safer talking to a psychologist virtually than to other counseling services while 83 percent said they are now more confident in their ability to manage their problems.
Because of these encouraging results, Globe incorporated HopeChat onto its suite of Wellness benefits after the pilot run.
“It was excellent actually! The sessions I got were really helpful! looking forward to my next session!,” an employee commented.