December 17, 2020

Espri by TELUS Health wins first stage of Mental & Physical Health App Challenge

Edmonton - Today, Espri by TELUS Health, a mental health mobile application (app) for first responders, was selected from more than 30 official applicants to proceed to a field trial as part of a second challenge to be analyzed by the Edmonton Police Foundation’s Community Solutions Accelerator (CSA).

“We are thrilled to announce that Espri by TELUS Health will advance to phase two of the Mental & Physical Health App challenge,” said Ashif Mawji, Chair of the Edmonton Police Foundation (EPF). “The TELUS team presented a promising holistic solution and we are excited to see how it may improve the overall mental and physical well-being of Edmonton Police Service (EPS) employees.”

Launched in October 2020, Espri by TELUS Health was created to support the well-being of Canada’s frontline workers and their families who continue to face increasing mental health pressures. An app that provides timely and confidential access to mental health resources, Espri by TELUS Health aims to assist workers when they need it, in turn, enabling them to keep citizens safe.

Developed in conjunction with first responders and specially trained clinicians, the app has several unique features and tools, including a resource hub, a goal setting tool, a group video call feature and a resource list that links users to their organization’s preferred support providers. Overall, it was the app’s rich content and their team’s capacity to develop and customize the additional recruiting and physical wellness solutions required by the EPS that secured their advancement to the field trial stage.

“At TELUS Health, we are helping to transform mental healthcare in Canada by collaborating with organizations like the Edmonton Police Service to foster a healthy, productive workplace culture, supported by innovative technology,” said Dr. Diane McIntosh, Chief Neuroscience Officer, TELUS Health. “In providing timely access to essential mental health resources through Espri by TELUS Health, we hope to give Edmonton’s dedicated police and correctional officers the support they need to continue keeping our communities safe.”

Mental health crises among first responders remains an ongoing occupational health hazard and often results from a stressful work environment, that can include exposure to significant trauma and tragedy. In addition, first responders can face stigma when accessing mental health supports, creating the need for more private and easily accessible resources that may be best provided using an app. “Supporting our employees physically and psychologically throughout their careers and into retirement is an EPS priority,” said Chief Dale McFee. “We are thrilled that a Canadian organization has submitted a solution that will help us work toward this goal and use today’s technology to make resources and supports more accessible.”

The Espri by TELUS Health app will begin field trials in January 2021 and the review and judging of the trial is expected to commence in March 2021. If successful, the award for the challenge will be applied to a final negotiated contract for the continued use of Espri by TELUS Health by Edmonton Police Service staff.

In total, 179 individuals and organizations inquired about the most recent CSA challenge, and 30 chose to submit an official proposal. Submissions were received from Canada and around the world including USA, Finland, Egypt, India, Singapore, New Zealand, and Peru. A total of 12 applications were subsequently shortlisted and two finalists were selected to pitch their proposals via Zoom to the CSA Selection Team which included judges from the EPF, EPS and independent domain experts.

Background

The Community Solutions Accelerator (CSA) is a ground-breaking new approach to public safety and well-being modelled on business applications that combine amalgamated data, artificial intelligence and machine learning to solve complex problems. Using available data from a variety of sources, the CSA will focus on the interconnected challenges affecting Edmonton such as crime, addictions, homelessness, and mental health.

The most recent challenge was launched earlier this year and focuses on the mental and physical well-being of all first responders through the development of a desktop and mobile app.

The first stage of this challenge, which sought content to form the foundation of this app, was won by SarA Health in May 2020.

In September 2020, the CSA Selection Team launched the second stage of the challenge, which sought proof of concepts for new or existing apps that could improve the mental health and fitness of our first responders by supporting employees physically and psychologically throughout their careers and into retirement. This app was asked to provide evidence-based solutions and address recruit engagement, physical and mental wellness.