Mental health has been an important consideration for the Territorial team for many years as a result of the lived experience of the leadership team. In 2017, Territorial began a journey to help Canadians with their mental health.
Intensive research and product development followed as the profits of Territorial were reinvested to build this product. We realized that mental health was too broad of a topic to address directly; we began to focus on building resiliency through a mental fitness iCBT course. We believe that relationships are core to the user experience and significant work has generated a teams-based approach to building resiliency.
Partnerships with WSPS, Howatt HR, Arete HR, and Johnston Group have allowed Territorial to fulfil this mission with thousands of Canadians using the app. In 2022, Hugr was acquired, resulting in the product to be expanded to be used by more Canadians.
eMental Health Product Development
One of the passions and focus areas of Territorial is working with clients to build and deliver their products. Hugr, however, was Territorial's first foray into the world of eMental Health Products and significant research and testing was required.
As a result of this research, we determined how to evolve our brand to be accessible and friendly while still providing a professional image. This brand has fed into our product and UX development, resulting in the product that exists today. In addition to the mobile app, a workplace mental health program was developed, a client dashboard provides quick reporting, and a variety of marketing material was produced to help onboard clients onto Hugr.
Android and iOS with React Native
The first version of Hugr was implemented as a React.js web app using Laravel as a backend. The feedback we consistently got was that Hugr needed to be a mobile app. We pivoted into this solution, using React Native as a framework to build both iOS and Android versions of the app simultaneously. Our app is powered using AWS and significant work has gone into the security and privacy features of the app to provide a safe home for peoples' personal information.
Effectiveness Research Study
Mental Health apps are seldomly developed by people with lived experience or guided through research studies. Hugr checks both those boxes: Territorial’s CTO has a mood disorder that shapes his experiences every day; and, a research study by Howatt HR provided invaluable information. While the research study showed that Hugr usage was in line with other apps, recommendations were given to improve usage and effectiveness of the app. The combination of this research and lived experience allows Hugr to provide a unique and powerful experience for users.