Features,  Interviews

Can an App help with mental health?

The mental health charity Mind, reports that 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem at some point in their lives. With an app available for pretty much everything, are there good alternative treatments and technology-based approaches to change the way we deal with mental health issues?

For example, the rise of free apps like Breathe2Relax, Optimism and IntelliCare have allowed people to access help wherever they are (access to therapists in remote rural areas can sometimes be a real challenge) and whatever their financial circumstances.

Christopher Paul Jones, a therapist based in Harley Street, recommends light and sound devices for helping to deal with anxiety.

Light and sound devices like the Mindlab and emWave Heart Math Device operate via glasses and headphones; as you sit with your eyes closed the machine flashes lights whilst also playing tones. The various settings do everything from helping you to relax, to enabling you to learn more effectively or even become more motivated. The emWave device teaches you how to get your mind in sync with your body; also known as ‘coherence’. It comes in computer form, or in a portable device and even as an iPhone app.

With research suggesting that more people are looking to move away from pharmaceutical drugs to treat mental health problems, Christopher believes that whilst useful and necessary, drugs are not always a permanent solution.

In theory, life today is easier than it has ever been; we are healthier, we earn more, we live longer, we have access to a wide variety of activities and the opportunity to work in careers that we enjoy. And yet it seems that more people than ever suffering from anxiety and stress.

Neuroscientists believe this is because our brains are still wired for ancient times when the real dangers in our lives were very clear. The brain would go into fight, flight or freeze mode, then when the danger subsided the brain would relax. Nowadays, we have so many demands on us; texts, Facebook messages, emails, there is no off switch and, as a result, our brains still perceive a very real danger.

Christopher says: “With people going into their survival response so much of the time, it’s no wonder they become burnt out and stressed. I believe it is more important than it has ever been to take the time to relax, to deal with our fears and anxieties and to find a mental and emotional balance in life.”

Therapeutic approaches are also very popular now, and very effective. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is the modality most commonly used and the one offered by the NHS. At the time of its conception, it was unique as most conventional treatments were still using a model of analysis of the patient’s past. CBT instead focuses on the present i.e. what the person is thinking and feeling (their automatic thoughts) in the moment when they are experiencing the problem.

ABOUT THE BREAKTHROUGH EXPERT

Christopher Paul Jones, aka The Breakthrough Expert, is a therapist based in Harley Street who specialises in helping people let go of their fears, anxieties and even their phobias; from a fear of public speaking to anxieties around work, Christopher has helped 100s of people ‘let go’ and get their lives back. He even cured his own morbid fear flying, to the extent he was able to take a sightseeing flight through the Pyrennees – strapped to the OUTSIDE of a helicopter! http://christopherpauljones.net/ Tweets by ‎@breakthruexpert