Top tools to use while wait­ing for ther­apy

NEW TECH­NOLO­GIES AND SUP­PORT GROUPS ARE OPEN­ING UP A NEW FRON­TIER IN MEN­TAL HEALTH SUP­PORT AND TREAT­MENT, SAYS LIZ CON­NOR

Llanelli Star - - HEALTH & LIFESTYLE -

IF YOU’RE suf­fer­ing with de­pres­sion or anx­i­ety, talk­ing ther­a­pies can be one of the most ef­fec­tive ways of tack­ling the is­sue.

But ac­cess­ing men­tal health sup­port can be a lengthy and stress­ful process in its own right. With ap­prox­i­mately one in four peo­ple in the UK ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a men­tal health prob­lem each year, of­ten the wait­ing list for treat­ment can be months long, so what do you do in the mean­time?

Thank­fully, tech­nol­ogy and start-up ini­tia­tives are mak­ing the ther­apy limbo that lit­tle bit eas­ier to bear. Whether your own men­tal health has taken a hit, or some­one you know is strug­gling, there’s no need to suffer in si­lence with these help­ful re­sources.

1MINDBOX

MINDBOX is a web­site that con­nects peo­ple with af­ford­able and im­me­di­ate round-the-clock ther­apy, whether by phone, we­b­cam or we­bchat. The 24-hour ser­vice has a va­ri­ety of ther­a­pists on board, who spe­cialise in every­thing from abuse to panic at­tacks.

You don’t need to go through a lengthy sign-up process to be con­nected with the right therapist, al­though you can be­come a mem­ber to ac­cess over 40 tried and tested ther­apy tech­niques, de­vel­oped by ex­perts, that are de­liv­ered through video, au­dio and jour­nal ses­sions. The ini­tia­tive was cre­ated and self-funded by TV pre­sen­ter Anna Richard­son, known for host­ing Chan­nel 4’s Naked At­trac­tion. She has spo­ken openly about her own strug­gle with anx­i­ety in the past. “If you’re suf­fer­ing from se­vere anx­i­ety, wait­ing 10 weeks to ac­cess any kind of ser­vice can be a life sen­tence,” Anna has said. “The only other op­tion is that you have to pay for your psy­chother­apy, which can be very ex­pen­sive. Mindbox of­fers a much­needed so­lu­tion be­tween the two, mak­ing ther­apy af­ford­able and ac­ces­si­ble for every­body.” mind-box.co.uk

2MENTAL HEALTH MATES

WHEN your men­tal health takes a hit, some­times all you want to do is be around peo­ple who un­der­stand what you’re go­ing through.

Men­tal Health Mates is a net­work of peer sup­port walk­ing groups, run by peo­ple with men­tal health is­sues and set up by jour­nal­ist and au­thor Bryony Gordon.

Bryony was in­spired to start the ini­tia­tive af­ter find­ing relief from the “ter­ri­ble funk” of her OCD symp­toms by get­ting out­doors. The char­ity’s planned walks are a chance to meet up with like-minded peo­ple and dis­cuss your is­sues with­out fear of em­bar­rass­ment or judge­ment, all while en­joy­ing the well­be­ing of be­ing out in na­ture. There are groups across the coun­try, but if you can’t find one in your lo­cal area, you can down­load a walk leader pack from the Men­tal Health Mates web­site and be the first to set one up.

This sum­mer, the ini­tia­tive has part­nered with Soho venue 100 War­dour St, which has launched a “Feel Good Gar­den” cu­rated by Bryony, with £1 from every bill at the venue go­ing to the char­ity. men­tal­health­mates.co.uk

3UNMIND

WHETHER it’s the end­less bar­rage of emails or the in­tim­i­dat­ing board­room meet­ings, the work­place can be a huge trig­ger for peo­ple who suffer with anx­i­ety or de­pres­sion. In fact, work-re­lated stress and men­tal ill­ness now ac­counts for over half of work ab­sences in the UK, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures re­leased by the Health and Safety Ex­ec­u­tive in 2018.

That’s where Un­mind comes in. It’s a con­fi­den­tial well­ness plat­form for em­ploy­ers, that staff can ac­cess at any time, through their desk­top or smart­phone, and on a day-in-day-out ba­sis if needed. Specif­i­cally de­signed for the work­place, it was started by clinical psychologi­st Nick Tay­lor who recog­nised the lack of im­me­di­ate sup­port avail­able for the thou­sands of em­ploy­ees who reach burnout each year.

Act­ing as a therapist in your pocket, the ini­tia­tive of­fers com­pa­nies that sub­scribe ac­cess to sci­en­tif­i­cally-backed pre­ven­ta­tive pro­grammes that can help to com­bat is­sues with sleep, stress, pro­duc­tiv­ity, or even your abil­ity to sup­port other peo­ple in your team. Every­thing is bro­ken down into easy-to-digest au­dio, video, and in­ter­ac­tive con­tent. home.un­mind.com

4TOMO

IF you’ve found your­self slip­ping into un­healthy habits, like sleep­ing in, skip­ping your morn­ing shower and los­ing in­ter­est in your hob­bies, this ‘habit track­ing’ app can help to get you back on track while you’re wait­ing for ther­apy to be­gin. As you

use Tomo, it learns about your life­style and prompts you to keep up with the self-care pur­suits that keep your mind feel­ing pos­i­tive – whether that’s turn­ing up for your weekly book club or mak­ing sure you make the bed every morn­ing.

Every time you suc­cess­fully com­plete a good habit – like wak­ing up early and go­ing for a run – you can share a photo of your achieve­ment with the rest of the Tomo com­mu­nity, so oth­ers can give you a vir­tual thumbs up.

The idea is that shar­ing your ‘wins’ with oth­ers can keep you ac­count­able for your be­hav­iour and mo­ti­vated to face what­ever chal­lenges the day might throw at you. hel­lotomo.co.uk

Ac­cess­ing men­tal health sup­port can be a length and stress­ful process in its own right

Ther­apy on the move

Bryony Gordon

Anna Richard­son

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