Sarah Taylor using the Sussex Cricket Mental Health & Wellbeing Platform

SCOTTISH tech start-up Frog Systems has achieved a world’s first by providing a top tier sports club with a bespoke mental wellness platform, linking it directly with members of its community.

Technology developed by the Glasgow-based company links Sussex Cricket with hundreds of thousands of citizens across the county as well as to 182 affiliated clubs in England and Wales.

The free-to-use platform, developed with the support of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, allows users to share their experiences by uploading a short video and to view videos posted by others. It also directs them to relevant support services in their area.

Frog systems – winner of the 2020 FutureX Start-up Summit – launched the system last summer and has secured high level clients across a range of sectors, including corporates, financial and professional services, higher education, housing, arts and membership and governing bodies to implement the platform.

It is now marketing its online resource to other sports clubs and governing bodies to boost their corporate social responsibility offerings.

CEO Phil Worms said: “Speaking out is essential in countering the stigma associated with mental wellness issues – and video engages in a way that the written word simply cannot.

“For those struggling with life’s challenges, it is vital to know that you are not alone, that help is available and that others who have experienced similar journeys have come through them.”

Sussex Cricket has taken a lead in addressing what has become one of the most important public policy issues during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the support of players and staff.

CEO Rob Andrew said: “We are extremely proud to be breaking new ground as the first sports club in the world to support its community in this way.

“With over 3,500 members, 182 affiliated cricket clubs, tens of thousands of supporters and thousands more people encountered through our community programmes and corporate partnerships, Sussex Cricket is in an incredibly strong position to make a positive difference in this aspect of people’s lives.

“We want to give people the opportunity to know that there is help and support available if they feel they want and need it.”

The mobile-optimised web platform combines high-quality videos of users’ lived experiences with signposting of local support services, tailored to their individual circumstances, without the need for additional internet searches.

Users can search by topic from drop-down menus of issues relevant to them, including diversity, inclusion, mental health, addiction, abuse and sexual orientation.

For each topic they are directed to professionally filmed and edited, standardised videos of people who have experienced those issues and a list of contact organisations and agencies in their area who can offer help and support.

A back-end analytics function provides employers and service providers with detailed, real time anonymised end user information, allowing them to make strategic management decisions at an early stage.

Nick Kuenssberg, chairman of Frog Systems, said: “Mental and physical illness does not discriminate. Each one of us is touched by it at some point in our lives.

“It is estimated that nearly one-fifth of the population will need mental health support as a direct consequence of COVID-19.  Yet many do not recognise the problem or, if they do, will not know where to turn to find the help they need.

“Frog ‘normalises’ the ability to speak up through its innovative use of video and makes it easier to find hope.”

Sussex player Sarah Taylor – a World Cup winner with England and nominee for ICC Women’s Player of the Decade – said: “I know from my own experiences how helpful it is to share how we’re feeling when it comes to looking after our mental wellbeing.

“Sussex’s new platform is a wonderful way of taking the power of shared experience and using it to give as many people as possible support and hope.

With all the challenges of the last year and this current lockdown, there couldn’t be a better time for an innovation like this. I’m proud to have shared my experiences on the platform alongside so many other people from all walks of life. I’m sure the platform is going to make a big difference.”