Breaking News
December 15, 2018 - 2017 Saw Slowing in National Health Care Spending
December 15, 2018 - Monitoring movement reflects efficacy of mandibular splint
December 15, 2018 - Study supports BMI as useful tool for assessing obesity and health
December 15, 2018 - Self-guided, internet-based therapy platforms effectively reduce depression
December 15, 2018 - Organically farmed food has bigger climate impact than conventional food production
December 15, 2018 - Faster, cheaper test has potential to enhance prostate cancer evaluation
December 15, 2018 - Researchers study abnormal blood glucose levels of patients after hospital discharge
December 15, 2018 - Swedish scientists explore direct association of dementia and ischemic stroke deaths
December 15, 2018 - Study finds 117% increase in number of dementia sufferers in 26 years
December 15, 2018 - Eczema Can Drive People to Thoughts of Suicide: Study
December 15, 2018 - Link between neonatal vitamin D deficiency and schizophrenia confirmed
December 15, 2018 - Nurse denied life insurance because she carries naloxone
December 15, 2018 - Ritalin drug affects organization of pathways that build brain networks used in attention, learning
December 15, 2018 - Research pinpoints two proteins involved in creation of stem cells
December 15, 2018 - Gut bacteria may modify effectiveness of anti-diabetes drugs
December 15, 2018 - Using machine learning to predict risk of developing life-threatening infections
December 15, 2018 - How imaginary friends could boost children’s development
December 15, 2018 - Folate deficiency creates more damaging chromosomal abnormalities than previously known
December 15, 2018 - Study provides new insights into molecular mechanisms underlying role of amyloid in Alzheimer’s disease
December 15, 2018 - For the asking, a check is in the mail to help pay for costly drugs
December 15, 2018 - UA scientists uncover biological processes leading to rare brain disorder in babies
December 15, 2018 - The largest database on industrial poisons
December 15, 2018 - ESMO Immuno-Oncology Congress showcases novel technologies set to benefit many cancer patients
December 15, 2018 - Ovid Therapeutics Announces Plans to Move into a Phase 3 Trial in Pediatric Patients Based on End-of-Phase 2 Meeting for OV101 in Angelman Syndrome
December 15, 2018 - Left ventricular noncompaction – Genetics Home Reference
December 15, 2018 - Children’s sleep not significantly affected by screen time, new study finds
December 15, 2018 - When should dementia patients stop driving? A new guidance for clinicians
December 15, 2018 - Researchers use INTEGRA’s VIAFLO 96/384 to streamline the experimental workflow
December 15, 2018 - Researchers discover protein involved in nematode stress response
December 15, 2018 - Cancer patients have greater risk of developing shingles, study shows
December 14, 2018 - UAlberta scientists identify biomarkers for detecting Alzheimer’s disease in saliva samples
December 14, 2018 - Study uncovers link between tube travel and spread of flu-like illnesses
December 14, 2018 - Caffeine plus another compound in coffee may fight Parkinson’s disease
December 14, 2018 - GW researchers review studies on treatments for prurigo nodularis
December 14, 2018 - Lack of peds preventive care ups unplanned hospital admissions
December 14, 2018 - Miscarriage: When Language Deepens Pain
December 14, 2018 - New method helps better understand pathological development of ALS
December 14, 2018 - Intellectually active lifestyle confers protection against neurodegeneration in Huntington’s patients
December 14, 2018 - Mammalian collagen nanofibrils become stronger and tougher with exercise
December 14, 2018 - Considerable Morbidity, Mortality Due to Animal Encounters
December 14, 2018 - Researchers find inhibiting one protein destroys toxic clumps seen in Parkinson’s disease
December 14, 2018 - How early physical therapy can lessen the long-term need for opioids
December 14, 2018 - Depression, suicide rates highest in Mountain West states
December 14, 2018 - New model could cure the potential to underestimate how quickly diseases spread
December 14, 2018 - Exercise-induced hormone activates cells critical for bone remodeling in mice
December 14, 2018 - Researchers discover new mechanism behind spread of malignant pleural mesothelioma
December 14, 2018 - Health Tip: Celebrate a Healthier Holiday
December 14, 2018 - Scalpel-free surgery enhances quality of life for Parkinson’s patients, study finds
December 14, 2018 - Early physical therapy can reduce risk, amount of long-term opioid use | News Center
December 14, 2018 - Genetic marker, predictor of early relapse in common childhood cancer discovered
December 14, 2018 - Study could lead to a potential new way of treating sepsis
December 14, 2018 - New protein complex helps embryonic stem cells to maintain their indefinite potential
December 14, 2018 - Salk professor receives $1.8 million from NOMIS Foundation for research on mechanisms to promote health
December 14, 2018 - New discovery will improve the safety and predictability of CRISPR
December 14, 2018 - Geneticists discover how sex-linked disorders arise
December 14, 2018 - New method to visualize small-molecule interactions inside cells
December 14, 2018 - Study describes mechanism that makes people more vulnerable to hunger-causing stimuli
December 14, 2018 - Chronic opioid therapy associated with increased healthcare spending and hospital stays
December 14, 2018 - Blood Types
December 14, 2018 - Obesity linked to increased risk of early-onset colorectal cancer
December 14, 2018 - Blood test helps identify distinct molecular signatures in children with cystic fibrosis
December 14, 2018 - In California, doctors accused of sexual misconduct often get second chances
December 14, 2018 - Scientists use water to track electrical activity of nerve cells
December 14, 2018 - Recurrence of urinary tract infection may depend on bacterial strain, study shows
December 14, 2018 - GBT Announces U.S. FDA Agrees with its Proposal Relating to Accelerated Approval Pathway for Voxelotor for the Treatment of Sickle Cell Disease and GBT Plans to Submit New Drug Application (NDA)
December 14, 2018 - Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT) Test: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information
December 14, 2018 - Common tactics for health promotion at work may be detrimental to employees with obesity
December 14, 2018 - Myths about migration and health not supported by available evidence
December 14, 2018 - Recent findings on rare genetic disorder may help develop new treatment options
December 14, 2018 - New drug shows promise in treating sarcomas
December 14, 2018 - Scientists perform lung lavage as new approach for tuberculosis diagnosis in rhinoceros
December 14, 2018 - Answering the Biggest Neurological Research Questions of Today
December 14, 2018 - Recent winners of the Nobel Medicine Prize
December 14, 2018 - KHN’s ‘What the Health?’ Insurance enrollment is lagging — and there are lots of reasons why
December 14, 2018 - Study assesses safety and efficacy of new treatment for pancreatic cancer
December 14, 2018 - Weakened metabolism of immune T cells may account for serious complications in elderly
December 14, 2018 - Study finds drug targets for Ebola, Dengue, and Zika viruses
December 14, 2018 - Face masks may offer protection against staph bacteria for hog farm workers and their household members
December 14, 2018 - Shining new light on neuron firing
December 14, 2018 - Study highlights need for personalized approach to treat ICU acquired delirium
Who is Your Possible Self?

Who is Your Possible Self?

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

An interview with Sarah Donnelly from My Possible Self at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo, discussing the story behind the My Possible Self app, and how it is helping patients with mental health conditions who are waiting for NHS counseling.

How do empowered patients contribute to a better healthcare system?

My Possible Self is an early intervention app that’s aimed at tackling stress, anxiety, and mild to moderate depression. The tool has been through clinical trials that have shown that it can have a real impact within just eight weeks.

Calm womanImage Credit: Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock

If we can start getting people to use My Possible Self at an early stage when they are just beginning to feel stressed or anxious, they might not need to call on their employee assistance program or enter face-to-face therapy.

The app might be able to help them with their problems before it becomes serious, negating the need for more complex interventions later on.

The tool can also be used when a patient is seeking face-to-face counseling. They may have been to their GP and been added to an NHS waiting list, but this could mean up to six months before seeing a therapist.

My Possible Self is an ideal tool to use during this time because it can teach patients how to manage their symptoms and when they do get an appointment, they may be much more receptive to the therapies proposed or able to use the techniques in a different way. Some patients may even feel that they no longer need the face-to-face therapy.

Who are My Possible Self? Where did the journey start for the company?

My Possible Self started life several years ago as a not-for-profit counseling service. Jo Wilkinson, our founder, set up a practice whereby people who could afford to pay for face-to-face counseling would pay, and their payments would be used to fund counseling for people who couldn’t afford it.

She started this business because she herself experienced some mental health problems and face-to-face counseling absolutely transformed her life.

Jo thought “Wow, this is brilliant. Everybody should do this”. But then she considered the fact that not everybody can afford counseling, so she set up the counseling practice, and it was really successful. She actually won the Forward Ladies Businesswoman of the Year award in the not-for-profit category.

She then wanted to reach out further, to even more people, and that’s when she decided to turn the company into an app.

In order to get the best possible content for the app, Jo scoured the world and came across the Black Dog institute in Australia. They’re an academic research institute led by a team of professors, psychiatrists, and psychologists who are leaders in their field.

Part-funded by a prestigious grant from the Australian government, and with the support of the University of New South Wales, they set up a research institute to look at how mental health could be digitized. This resulted in a program called myCompass, which is an e-mental health program.

They put that program through clinical trials, and found that within eight weeks, it was getting real results. When Jo found this, she decided that she a. wanted to make it available in the UK, and b. wanted to make it into an app that was more user-friendly and could be used on a smart phone.

Jo’s husband, Peter Wilkinson, is a tech entrepreneur in Yorkshire. He owns Inhealthcare, another company that does a lot of healthcare innovations, and along with a team of expert developers, they created the My Possible Self app.

What do the modules teach patients, and how do they improve mental wellbeing?

The app consists of nine Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) modules, and there are new ones coming out each month. Each module focusses on a different topic, such as Fear and Anxiety, Stress and Overload, Loss and Change, Negative Thinking, and so on.

The user starts with a questionnaire that asks them about various different aspects of their life, and based on this, the app will suggest some topics to focus on. The patient can then use those suggestions to decide which modules to do.

You need to allocate around 2-3 weeks to work through each module, and that’s because applying the CBT techniques take time and the change is something that needs to happen slowly.

It’s not something you can hammer through in two days, as you need to apply what you’ve learned into your day-to-day life on an ongoing basis.

Woman looking out across water and mountainsImage Credit: Eakachai Leesin / Shutterstock

You can do the modules in bite-sized chunks, so you can a little bit on the bus, then a bit more on your lunch break, for example.

Once you’ve completed the module, you don’t get a score or anything like that, you have simply just reached the end of the 2-3 week journey. At this stage, you may feel that the program is complete for you, or you may start working through the next module.

The way the other tools work is in complement to the modules. The tracking feature allows you to choose three things to track. For example, you may choose to track sleep, exercise and anxiety. The idea here is that you are able to spot correlations and patterns in your life that are linked to your mental health status.

The moments diary feature is another CBT technique we use. You can record notes, put photos in there, or emojis that relate to how you’re feeling.

This tool helps users track their journey through the program, so they can look back to the beginning and say “Gosh, I’d forgotten I was feeling like that back then, and wow, I’m surprised at how far I’ve come.”

These tools can be used separately, but also work nicely together.

If you could send one message to patients who may benefit from this technology, what would it be?

We all experience mental health on a spectrum, and we all have good and bad days. Most of us have struggled with mental health problems at some point in our lives, and yet only 13% of us are able to talk about it. I think that’s one of the biggest barriers to getting support.

If I could send one message, it would be that help is available. There is so much support out there, whether that’s through the NHS, your employer or apps like My Possible Self, and it’s okay to ask for help if you’re struggling to locate where those services are. Yes, the stigma still exists, but so much is being done to break that down.

How are My Possible Self working to reduce the extreme pressure currently placed on mental health professionals in the UK?

The app works from two angles. The first is that it can relieve some of the pressure off mental health services in the UK, and the second is that it could also help to support NHS staff in their day-to-day lives.

Nursing is now considered to be one of the most stressful professions, with some of the highest sickness rates among all workers in the UK. This is not surprising. Looking after people every day under very pressurized circumstances often means nurses don’t get the care that they need themselves.

At the end of the day, we’re all patients, and this includes nurses. If we could help people with mild-to-moderate stress, anxiety, or depression, who are waiting for an appointment, we could really reduce the strain on the NHS.

NHS Nurse folding armsImage Credit: Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock

The idea is that the app could reduce the number of counseling sessions required and also the number of people going to their GP with mental health issues.

GPs are now spending at least one or two days a week supporting people with stress, anxiety, and depression, and although My Possible Self won’t be able to do away with that completely, we might be able to help.

We’re not here to replace face-to-face counseling, medication or more complex care when it’s needed, but what we are here to do is to act as an early intervention tool that may reduce the risk of things escalating.

Where can readers find more information?

Visit MyPossibleSelf.com to find out more about how My Possible Self could help you manage stress, anxiety and low mood, or improve the wellbeing of your employees or patients.

The tool is available as an app from iTunes and Google Play, or via any desktop computer. It is currently only available in the UK.

About My Possible Self

My Possible Self is a digital toolkit that empowers people to transform their mental wellbeing. It’s the first UK mental health app to use content that’s proven to reduce stress, anxiety and mild to moderate depression in eight weeks.

It can also help your employees improve their communication, think more positively, sleep better and build their self-esteem.

My Possible Self is an NHS Digital Apps Library trusted application. It draws upon established forms of therapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), to act as an early intervention tool when life’s challenges start to cause problems.

“It is exactly the sort of measure we should be looking at, supporting people who may be suffering from anxiety, stress or depression to self-manage and avoid a crisis.” Norman Lamb, MP .

“It’s proving really helpful. Having used other apps it’s great to have a refresher in my pocket!” Tanya, app user.

“My Possible Self stands out as a product that not only offers standalone support, but a useful complement to conventional face to face therapy.” David Smith, CEO, Hull and East Yorkshire Mind.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles