Written by: Dr. Willa Litvack
Unlike fleeting emotions and feelings such as joy or fear, moods are longer in duration, vary in intensity, and are rarely triggered by a single event. Mood is also less specific, usually described in broader terms such as, “good” or “bad”, “down” or “up”.
To help articulate the difference, think of emotions and moods as layers with feelings existing in the forefront, catching our attention from moment-to-moment, while mood exists in the background where we tend not to notice it. Moods are often difficult to identify. They impact multiple aspects of our health and cognitive functioning – influencing how we perceive, process, evaluate, and respond to information. Ultimately, mood has a direct and significant effect on our mind’s ability to stay on task.
Concentration, spatial reasoning, the ability to make effective decisions and the anxiety associated with these decisions are all greatly affected by our mood. The result: workplace incidents that occur due to loss of or easily distracted attention.
When we think of problems related to mood, the first thing that comes to mind for many is depression, and rightly so, because it is so pervasive. Approximately 7% of adults experience at least one episode of major depression in any 12-month period. In the United States, the economic burden of major depressive disorder was estimated to be at over $210 billion per year – almost half of which was attributed to absenteeism and reduced productivity. More concerning is that these numbers don’t yet reflect the untold effects of the pandemic.
Mood is something we tend not to notice but impacts multiple aspects of our health and cognitive functioning
Early identification and, by implication, prevention and early treatment of depression and other mood disorders are high on the list of what Budee’s Mood Questionnaire is designed to do. Taking it one step further, our technology identifies anomalies of mood which may also be symptoms of mental health conditions, substance abuse, sleep disorders, and medical conditions such as hypothyroid or low blood sugar. Sometimes mood anomalies are largely situational, related to events or conditions in one’s life. Whether an urgent intervention is needed or a simple offer of support and practical guidance, Budee is designed to screen for and evaluate problematic mood states, providing users and supervisors with helpful feedback and resources.
With so many options to measure mood, Budee’s unique application required something equally unique; an engaging and user-friendly questionnaire that requires less than a minute a day to complete.
Budee’s Mood Questionnaire is comprised of 25 items (5 per day over a 5-day cycle) and provides an overall score as well as sub-scores for depression, anxiety, and hostility. All of which are tracked over time to identify problematic mood states that are extreme, persistent, or rapidly fluctuating. Users can check in with themselves every day to ensure they are mentally prepared for the work ahead. Should any issues be identified, the user will receive a confidential summary of their test scores. A company may decide to offer employee assistance programs or other resources through the application.
As a complex part of the human mind, our mood affects our day-to-day lives. We cannot discount its impact on workplace safety.