April marks the beginning of National Stress Awareness Month, a perfect time to focus on the importance of gut health and stress management in the workplace. We often think about ways to manage stress through mental health resources – meditation, talk therapy, gratitude. But one often overlooked way to help impact stress management lies within the body’s digestive tract – otherwise known as the gut.
What is the gut-brain connection?
The gut-brain connection is a complex communication network that exists between the central nervous system (CNS) and the enteric nervous system (ENS) of the GI tract. This enables the gut and brain to send signals to each other, influencing various bodily processes, and the gut microbiome is an important part of this relationship.
The ENS is a complex network of neurons that controls digestive processes independent of the CNS, which is why the gut is sometimes called the “second brain”.
“Digestive issues can be linked to mental health conditions, mood and stress, cognitive function, neurodegenerative conditions and our health in general,” says Dr. Hau Liu, Chief Medical Officer at Vivante Health.
Digestive health for improved mental health?
Incorporating gut health solutions into your employee benefits package can be an effective way to support your employees’ health and well-being. In fact, in a recent study of participants using Vivante Health’s GIThrive product, a whopping 79% of members reported reduced stress and anxiety.
So, why is it that our members are feeling less stressed after managing their gut symptoms? Here are a few reasons, among others:
Inclusivity and Support
More than 70 million Americans suffer in silence from digestive health issues. Conditions like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Crohn’s Disease, and Diverticulitis are often considered ‘whisper’ topics that affect people’s everyday lives and ability to show up at work. When employers create a safe space for their employees to get access to the care they need, they are showing their employees that they care about them.
“When an employer offers a program like GIThrive, that communicates, without question, that their employees matter,” says Gary, a US Foods Employee using GIThrive.
Behavioral Health Modules
With GIThrive, members get unlimited access to self-guided Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) modules to help them reduce stress and be more productive employees.
“I love the CBT program and would recommend it to anyone and everyone,” one GIThrive member says. “I like that I can apply the skills to other aspects of my life.”
“Evidence-based digital therapeutics have been shown to help alleviate symptoms associated with chronic digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome,” said Bill Snyder, Vivante Health CEO. “Offering these solutions through our GIThrive platform brings clinically validated support to members in the comfort of their homes. This innovation will help us further reduce digestive-related GI flareups, ER visits and work absenteeism that affect business productivity as well as healthcare costs.”
Whole Person, Coordinated Care
The health system can often be fragmented and challenging to navigate, especially when trying to find solutions for embarrassing symptoms related to gut health. That’s why we strive to make the GIThrive platform easy and intuitive to navigate, with a nationwide network of coordinated care providers standing by to help members get the care they need, when and how they need it. From registered dietitians and health coaches to physicians for more acute needs, the ability to seamlessly and easily access coordinated providers, along with self guided educational content, can reduce stress and make it easier for members to get care.
How are you helping your employees manage stress? April is a great time to consider diversifying your benefits portfolio to help your members avoid stress and stay healthy. Incorporating gut health solutions into your employee benefits package not only supports the well-being of your employees but also has the potential to increase productivity and reduce absenteeism. By prioritizing gut health and stress management in the workplace, you can foster a healthier, happier workforce.
Want to learn more about GIThrive? You can request to learn more here.