There are a great deal of apps out there to support mental health. We hear about more e-mental health ideas with innovative designs, functionality and feedback settings to help users in supporting a mental illness or helping people develop valuable skills to support their mental well-being.
A year ago I decided I wanted to be part of this incredible movement – to start working out how technology can fit into helping us and our mental health.
The story goes back a year further when I was diagnosed with moderate depression. It had been going on for a long time and I had no idea what was happening to me, let alone find my voice to describe it..so I sat in a loop hole, popping in and out until this time around it got worse. I’m very fortunate that my sister is a training counsellor, and she encouraged me to visit my GP. Again I was fortunate in that my GP was very patient and empathetic and helped me work out what I could do next.
I’m very much someone who likes to work on myself, away in a little mental workshop where I can pick myself apart and evaluate myself in my own way, and then work on my ‘strengths’ and ‘weaknesses’ as I see fit. This is where my first experience of E-mental health came in. My GP advised I check out Moodgym- https://moodgym.anu.edu.au/welcome – a website which teaches you about depression/anxiety: symptoms, effects, how I can help myself, and what help there is out there for me.
The website itself was quite ‘clunky’ and full of text, which believe me if you’re depressed you do not want to have to deal with. Nonetheless I made sure I got through everything on the website, and at the end of it I actually felt…better. Not ‘cured’ by all means, but relieved that I knew more about what was going on inside myself.
I felt confident enough to start seeing a counsellor, I made a number of changes to my lifestyle, and I even felt good enough to start chasing my dreams instead of my own tail.
This is when I realised just how important moodgym had been in my steps towards recovery. Because of the type of person I am, it helped immensely that I had something, a tool I could use to ‘work on myself’. It gave me space from other people’s evaluations of what I was doing right and wrong, and provided me with such empowering information that I began to believe that what was happening to me was in fact something tangible and I could get help for from others who would know how to help me further.
I began opening up to people about my experiences, and in turn I received an overwhelming response of people with similar stories. The problem for others, just as I felt was that the content was out there but it was incredibly laborious to find and boring to engage with.
That’s when my lightbulb appeared. My dream has always been to take my own ideas and make them into a reality. With the help of moodgym, similar sites, and counselling I developed the confidence to start on this journey. I created the concept which is now the Rize app! – a gamified app that integrates therapeutic concepts into simple exercises to help users to track and improve their mental well-being.
Over the last year I have gained support from the Cambridge Accelerator Program, Mindtech, The London Institute of Psychiatry, Nottingham University, and a group of counsellors in Cambridgeshire.
My mission is to provide people like me with content that is accessible, engaging, and effective – to help support their journey in tracking and improving their mental well-being. I don’t believe digital technology can, at least in my generation, act as a cure for anything like depression, but I strongly believe that it can be a powerful supplement to engaging, recovering, and developing resilience for ourselves.
There are so many incredible, new technologies coming out now, such as moodpanda, wearewhatwedo, sparx, and many others. It’s an exciting, growing area of mental health and I’m very happy to be a part of it.
So that’s why I’m on this train! Pop your head in the iTunes store in two weeks and let me know what you think of V1 of my first try 🙂
What are your thoughts on e-mental health? Let the open discussion begin!