A Kiwi-focused wellbeing app made free during the Covid-19 pandemic has been downloaded more than 60,000 times in three months.

The biggest uptake of Mentemia has been from large corporates concerned for the wellbeing of staff under pressure or anxious with a return to work after lockdown.

Since Covid-19 hit New Zealand there has been a spike in demand for mental health services from people affected by increased workloads, work-from-home isolation, and those hit by job loss or business closure.

The self-help app was created by former All Black and mental health advocate Sir John Kirwan, tech entrepreneur Adam Clark, and an expert team of medical advisers.


It will be free for at least six months to help support Kiwis deal with anxiety and uncertainty during the Covid-19 crisis.

Kiwibank, DB Breweries, Barfoot & Thompson, The Warehouse and Chorus all rolled out the use of the app to employees.

Kiwibank chief people officer Leigh MacDonald said the app complemented other work it has been doing in the mental wellbeing space.

"We knew Covid-19 was having a dramatic impact on Kiwis and this was a tool that could support our customers, their whānau, our communities as well as our team," he said.

"Team members have told us things like it nailed their personality more than any questionnaire they've ever taken and prompts such as daily acts of kindness, are small but meaningful."

The free app has been downloaded more than 60,000 times since April. Photo / Supplied
The free app has been downloaded more than 60,000 times since April. Photo / Supplied

With 870 employees, telecommunications and infrastructure company, Chorus used Mentemia during lockdown as a tool to support people while working remotely.

It is continuing to use the app in Covid level 1 after positive feedback from employees.

Kim Culpan, head of organisational development at Chorus, said the company already had open conversations about mental wellbeing among staff, but Mentemia encouraged even more openness.


"An app like Mentemia is a key tool for supporting our employees in the post Covid environment and complements our existing mental wellbeing programmes," she said.

Kirwan said the mental wellbeing of employees was already a key focus for many organisations, but the Covid crisis had made it top priority.

"We have moved to a wellbeing first economy where, if you take care of your people, they will take care of your business," Kirwan said.

"Leading companies are realising they need to embrace this change and how they can help the everyday mental wellbeing of their staff. One of the best and only scalable long-term approaches is to do that digitally."

Leading real estate company Barfoot & Thompson provided its 2400 employees with access to Mentemia during lockdown and now views the app as a way for its teams to manage everyday pressures and uncertainties.

Health and safety manager, Shawn Minnie, said the beauty of the app was it was a tool that could be used during Covid-19 and also to manage life stressors.


"It can be tailored to what the individual needs."

The platform provides evidence-based, self-care product for workplaces, and practical tools and tips to help users take control of their daily mental wellbeing.

Robyn Shearer, the Ministry of Health's mental health and addiction deputy director general, said it was supporting digital tools like Mentemia so Kiwis have more choice of how and when they can support their own mental wellbeing.

"It's really important people know that practicing these wellbeing techniques every day can build resilience and help us all cope in times of stress," Shearer said.

"It's great to see workplaces get behind providing these options too."