iRel8.org App Connects Crew Mental Wellness
BY Sandy Lender
The team at iRel8.org recognized the disturbing trend toward an increased risk for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety and substance abuse in the construction industry and created an environment within its iRel8 app specifically for our industry. “ConstructionRel8, within iRel8, is live today and available free to anyone who downloads the app and uses the code ‘construction’ when they sign up,” shared Dion Gonzales, co-founder of iRel8.org.
iRel8 currently serves individuals, first responders, active military, veterans, state governments, charities, and now the construction industry. Co-developed with Microsoft, iRel8’s enterprise technology is positioned to help promote mental wellness globally. The app is designed to offer companies a platform where workers can log in—anonymously, if they wish—and communicate with colleagues about the stressors affecting their everyday lives. They have the opportunity within the app to share trials and triumphs, find support, and offer encouragement for one another.
One additional offering to companies within the app is the use of short-form video, which the team has named Peeroic. This is a user-generated video platform that integrates with the anonymous chat apps without selling or tracking data. And the team works to protect users against negative trolling.
“Anyone can post videos to Peeroic; however, ConstructionRel8 users can target their videos to others in the construction industry based on their initial signup using the “construction” partner code,” Gonzales shared. “We have multiple layers of moderation built into the platform including community-based, a moderation bot, and human oversight.”
Gonzales shared that the community-based moderation is highly effective because people are using the app for the right reasons. “We’ve only removed one user from our app ecosystem in 5+ years.”
Within the app, professional counselors are available as well. “We definitely have licensed professionals who are in the app, either actively chatting or as a resource when someone is ready to talk with a professional,” Gonzales shared. “Since the app is based on chatting confidentially with others who have ‘been there, done that,’ we don’t offer professional services directly in the app; that said, users can find professional resources in the app and then contact them.”
Although resources are made available, users aren’t inundated with advertisements. “We don’t have “advertisers” per se in the app, but we do allow qualified companies to be in the marketplace and/or resources section where users can see products/services and purchase. We have a recommendation engine that pops up qualified companies based on the user’s request. For instance, if someone types a message saying, ‘I’m having trouble sleeping,’ the recommendation engine will search companies and resources and show a few options to the user to select (or not select from). This, in combination with peer driven recommendations, ensures a human-first connection supported with best-in-class technology.”
The app is designed to allow a company freedom to protect and help workers. For example, the company could limit access to only its employees or could elect to give access to its employees plus those of subcontractors and others in a region or network.
Gonzales explained: “We accommodate both situations. Some companies who are large enough want a white label app or a private section in iRel8. A private section allows members to chat privately (and anonymously) with invite only members from the same company, plus they can connect with any other construction professional from any other company around the world—though primarily in the United States right now.”
iRel8 supports 54 different languages.
A prime contractor for a large, multi-year project could grant access to subcontractors and vendors. “This is certainly something we support; a prime could set up an invitation only group in the app and invite subs and vendors to be part of that group,” Gonzales said. “Since the group is invite-only, it acts as an exclusive section. The phrase ‘your organization and those you serve’ is meant for larger organizations that understand the critical importance of mental wellness and want to provide the app to their employees, members or those they serve.”
For more information, visit iRel8.org.