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Myth busting information about mental health, unusual distressing experiences and early intervention

  • Myth busting information about mental health, unusual distressing experiences (psychosis) and early intervention
  • Myth busting information about mental health, unusual distressing experiences (psychosis) and early intervention
  • Myth busting information about mental health, unusual distressing experiences (psychosis) and early intervention
  • Myth busting information about mental health, unusual distressing experiences (psychosis) and early intervention
  • Myth busting information about mental health, unusual distressing experiences (psychosis) and early intervention
  • Myth busting information about mental health, unusual distressing experiences (psychosis) and early intervention

The apps described below have all been tested and reviewed by the Hailsham Early Intervention Service App group.

 

This app claims to offer a practical way to help you feel good and function well in the world. It allows individuals to reflect on there well being, set activities to help improve wellbeing and track your personal progress.

Review:  2/5

Positives

  • Links you up with professionals
  • Clear information
  • Categories focus strongly on wellbeing
  • Set quotes

Negatives

  • Unappealing design
  • Difficult to set a task/activity
  • Intrusive
  • Not interactive
  • A reminder is not enough!

Wellhappy is a free health app for young people aged 12-25 in London. It allows you to search for over a thousand local support services including mental health, sexual health and substance misuse services.

Review: 2/5

Positives

  • Android and IOS
  • Free
  • Pictures
  • Colourful/bold start up      

Negatives

  • Glorified Leaflet
  • Too much information and not clear
  • Racist
  • Some strange/inappropriate pictures
  • Boring

 

MoodPanda helps you track how you're feeling, with personal analysis, visualisations and interpretations of your mood, and a lovely, friendly and anonymous community of people there to support you if you need them.

Review: 3/5

Positive

  • Nice Visualisation
  • Like the panda - more personable with a panda
  • Social Network
  • National mood graph
  • Supportive community

Negatives

Coming soon

Self Help and Anxiety Management (SAM)

SAM is a friendly app that offers a range of self-help methods for people who are serious about learning to manage their anxiety.

Rating 4/5

Positives

+ FREE!

+ Visual, engaging and helpful activities

+ Iphone and android

+ Very interactive and customisable

+ LOTS of info on anxiety and support

+ Different levels of exercises

+ Practical, clever and stimulating activities

 

Negatives

- Too many options on the main menu make it unclear where to go.

- Limited to anxiety

Additional Comments

Well broken down into social, interactive and personal areas. The tasks are very tactile and helpful for creating calm and distract the mind from anxieties in a smart and thoughtful (yet simple) way. Certainly more app than glorified leaflet or mood diary.

 

 

 

 

 

Positive Actiity Jackpot (PAJ) uses a behavioural therapy called pleasant event scheduling (PES), which is used to overcome depression and build resilience. This app features augmented reality technology to help users find nearby enjoyable activities and makes activity suggestions with local options and the ability to invite friends.

Rating 1/5

Positive

+ Funny

+ FREE!

+ Lighthearted...

+ ‘Fun’?

+ Interesting take on the ‘app’, a different way to select/suggest activities.

Negative

- Possibly patronizing.

- Hit and miss.

- Only on android.

- Novelty soon wears off.

- Takes decision making out of your hands - irresponsibly.

 

Additional Comments

It’s function is at first a innocent, engaging and tactile. Could be a risk for impulse, where suggestions should be avoided. There is no way to exclude certain suggestions. The imagery and design is ‘gambling-centric’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Panic Attack Aid is a  new application designed to bring instant calming relief to panic attack sufferers.

Rating 0/5

Positive

+ FREE!

+ Iphone and android

Negatives

- Not interactive at all

- Not engaging

- Juvenile

- Unimaginative

- Boring

- Poor execution

Additional Information

Refers to GP, which could either be taken as (admittedly a low form of) signposting, or not helping with your problem, as the app poses as an ‘aid’ and fails to do that. Shouldn’t be an app, would make a terrible leaflet let alone app. Don’t bother.

 

 

 

 

 

The My Journey app is designed to help you keep track of how you’re feeling. By working through the set questions with an easy-to-use rating wheel, My Journey can help you make informed choices about what to do to improve your mental health.

Rating 3/5

Positive

+ Rating system which makes it more personable.

+ FREE!

+ Says it was developed by former EIP service user

+ Ratings eventually lead on to care plan

+ Library of definitions

+ Jargon busting

+ Page for appointment reminders

+ a lot of functions and features

Negative

- Only on Android

- Same advice and tips came up on each question.

- Doesn’t have the ability to record your answers on a  day-to-day basis

- Features are squeezed in and look very small

Additional comments

Repetitive tips come across as unintuitive and lacks

depth. Seems built for more tablet sized screens.

 

 

 

MindShift will help you learn how to relax, develop more helpful ways of thinking, and identify active steps that will help you take charge of your anxiety.

Rating 3/5

Positive

+ Helpful information on anxiety.

+ FREE!

+ Simple, easy mindfulness exercises.

+ ‘Chill out tools’ are useful.

+ Apple and Android.

+ Tackles ideas around dealing with conflict.

+ Helpful and suggestive.

+ Password optional.

+ Customisable.

Negative

- Seems incomplete on iphone.

- Hard to navigate.

- Confusing menus.

- American voices….?

- Wastes iphone user’s time.

Additional Comments

Apple and Android compatible yet the Iphone version is practically unusable – Only a few features work unfortunately.

You can add your own situations and strategies to cope with them

 

 

 

 

Medisafe helps you take your medicine on time and safely. It also allows you to help your family members with their pills.

Rating 4/5

Positives

+ Reminds to take medication

+ FREE!

+ Incorporates privacy settings

+ Functions well in reminding you or someone of your choice

+ Visual medication library

+ Simple

+ User friendly

+ Accesible

+ Iphone and android

+ Plenty of options

Negatives

- Could have more information

- Could have function on reducing medication

Additional comments

Does what it intends to do, a reminder to take your medication, executes this function as thoroughly as an app could without going into the emotional conflict some feel about taking medication.

 

 

 

 

 

In Hand is a simple tool to help you know where your at and bring back the balance.

Rating 3/5

Positives

+ Can be personalized

+ Colourful

+ Simple Instant suggestions

+ FREE!

+ Apple and Android

+ Well designed, looks great

+ Good quotes

+ Many funny photos

Negatives

- Not enough information

- No links

- Too positive

- Not useful in the “awful” section,

- Beyond alluring design, it is one dimensional

Additional comments

Seems a little ‘style over substance’. Comes across as more celebratory and solidifying for wellness, than intervening  and helping with problems or preventing them.

 

 

The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that often occur after trauma.

Rating 4/5

Positives

+ Audio

+ Both android and apple (IOS)

+ Visually engaging

+ Corporate

+ Support network option

+ Syncs contacts into diaries

+ In depth – lots of info

+ Assess yourself with targeted questions

+ Produces a graph to demonstrate outcome of mood

+ Lots of support websites

+ Mood tracker

+ Niche

+ Lots of content.

 

The Depression Calculator

Rating 1/5

Positives

+ FREE!

+ Visual

+ Good idea to help understand depression & to what degree.

+ Fairly self explanatory

Negatives

- Lame name

- Not android

- Unsatisfactory survey

- BORING       

- Only one helpful link

- Not endearing nor impressive.

Additional comments

Refers to GP, which could either be taken as (admittedly a low form of) signposting, or not helping with your problem.Perhaps a bit patronising and trivialises something serious, on the name alone.

 

Julie’s Story – My Psychosis Experience

I have battled with Depression since my late teens and I had my first major episode in 2010. Three and a half years after my first major episode, unbeknown to me, I was to have my worst episode yet!

In October 2013 (after weeks and weeks of sleep deprivation due to stress), I was diagnosed with Severe Psychotic Depression. I had up until this point ignored every early warning sign of Depression (sleep deprivation, lack of appetite, disinterest in hobbies) and this lead to Psychosis development. I had become paranoid that the people around me were out to get me and I was deluded that I would be in trouble for doing something bad. As a social person, I had shut myself off from everyone. I was convinced that I smelt bad but I could not say what I smelt of. I was convinced I had made people ill with my sheer existence.

The tip of the iceberg was on 24 October 2013. After weeks of physically shaking, staring into space and feeling incredibly paranoid, I went to work and I had forgotten my password to my computer. In addition to this, our company had new phones installed and I had no idea how to use them despite reading the manual. So I was in a complete mess and had no idea what I was going to do. I had lost all confidence in my ability to do my job and forgetting my password only accentuated this. I was sent home and told not to come back into work until Monday. My boss took me home. I told her that my mum would be home as I had forgotten what day it was and had no concept of time. She reluctantly left as my mum was at work and wrote a note for my mum explaining why I had been sent home. I contacted my fiancé (Martin) and told him that I had been sent home but I could not tell him why. I only remember sitting on the stairs and him walking through the front door. By this point I had made a doctor’s appointment because “I kept forgetting things” but I couldn’t get an appointment until Monday (28 October).

Martin had bought me a box of Lindt Lindor (my favourite chocolates) and a Fleetwood Mac album earlier in the week in attempt to cheer me up but I couldn’t listen to the album as I felt the lyrics were aimed at me – I couldn’t get any enjoyment in music anymore. Later that evening I became increasingly paranoid and for some reason I believed that I could no longer trust Martin, so I asked for his key and sent him home. I watched out of the window to make sure he left and I spent quite some time looking out of windows scared that people were coming to get me.

The next morning Martin came round to look after me but in my mind he was out to get me. My mum asked what was wrong to which I replied “nothing”. She left for work making sure that Martin was going to stay and look after me. Martin had made an appointment for the doctor’s but I could not get ready as I was convinced that ALL of my clothes were dirty and smelt and that I could not possibly leave the house as a result. I became obsessed with keys and I guarded my handbag as I thought that Martin was going to take my keys. I kept telling him I needed the keys. I was scared that I would not be able to lock the doors. I can only assume that I wanted to shut people out. I was also obsessing over the news, thinking that there would be a report on the end of the world or some such. I was convinced that reporters would come to my house about the “bad thing” I had done. Martin called his sister (Miranda) as he didn’t know what to do. She came round and they tried to get me to eat and drink but they had to keep prompting me. I was convinced that all the food was out of date as I knew I hadn’t been shopping in quite some time. Miranda called the doctor and when she came off the phone she said we needed to go to the hospital. She told me I could trust her and that she wouldn’t let anything happen to me. I was very reluctant given my earlier concerns, but they eventually got me to change and get in the car.

When we got to Accident & Emergency, Miranda went in whilst Martin & I sat outside. She came and took us in and we went into a side room. A nurse came to see me and asked me questions, most of which I don’t remember. I remember her asking about the medication I was on in 2010 for Depression and I told her Mirtazapine. She said that someone from the Psychiatric Unit would be with us as soon as possible. A man came in and asked more questions – Miranda seemed to know the man and implied that “if” there was anything wrong with me, they would get to the bottom of it.

I felt like everyone thought I was lying and time wasting and that there was nothing wrong with me. A final man came in and did a psychiatric assessment on me but at the time I thought he was making it up and that he was playing along with my alleged hypochondria. After the assessment we were taken to another department to get 1 x Mirtazapine and I was sent home. I had no concept of time or how long we had spent in A & E. I don’t really recall much of the next day. I know that Martin had stayed the night and that in the evening we watched X Factor – my mum had remarked how I appeared not to be watching the programme. I could not concentrate at all, I felt completely empty.

The following day I don’t think I even got out of bed. Martin & Miranda kept coming to me and all I wanted was to be left alone. By this point I was truly convinced that I had done something massively bad and that I wanted the dream (or nightmare) to end. The out of hours doctor was called and in turn, he called an ambulance. I refused to leave the house but being only 8 stone by this point, my 6 foot 4 partner and his 6 foot sister had no trouble coercing me out of the house and into the ambulance! Miranda came with me in the ambulance and I felt like her and the paramedic were giving each other knowing looks. We arrived at AMU where I was monitored. I was given an ECG and my blood was taken throughout the night. I still thought it was all being done for show and that no-one believed anything was wrong. There was a toilet in my room but I was convinced that it was not real and so I couldn’t use it. I was also convinced that people wouldn’t be able to enter the room and that somehow, without touching the door; I had managed to lock it. When the nursing staff came round and moved things in the room, I thought I would be in trouble for it. Simple things like moving a cup or jug, table or chair – I thought I would be in trouble for moving them even though I had not touched them.

Over the next day or two, Martin and Miranda came to visit and tried to get me to eat. I was convinced that all food was out of date and that the world was ending. I thought my presence in hospital would make everyone ill and that the hospital would have to close. I thought this due to my delusion that I smelt and was dirty. I was also convinced that I had lost my job and had no friends left. I thought that Martin and I weren’t together anymore and could not understand why he and Miranda kept coming to see me.

The Crisis Team came to visit but at the time I had no idea who they were. I thought they were pretending to be healthcare professionals. There were 3 people, a male and 2 female doctors. They questioned me and the question that remains with me was when one of the doctors asked “Do you feel guilty?” It was as if the penny had finally dropped and someone finally understood. I told her that I had done something very bad but I did not know what this was. She then asked if we needed to involve the police which I told her we did not. Martin and Miranda were outside the room looking at me and crying. I thought they knew what the bad thing I had done was and that I would lose them as a result of this. I felt angry that they would leave me when I needed them most.

After more questioning the same doctor told me I would be sectioned under Section 2 of the Mental Health Act and that I would be institutionalised for a period of up to 28 days. She said that I could appeal the decision but I would have to go to Court before a Judge. I was read my rights but of course I didn’t understand any of this. I still didn’t believe I was ill and thought I was going to be in a lot of trouble for not saying anything. I was left in AMU not really understanding what anything meant. I had no understanding of simple everyday things so had no idea what had just happened – no amount of explanation could have helped.

Later that evening/the next day, the doctor and Miranda came to get me for the transfer of care. I would not walk so they put me in a wheelchair and when we got to the front door, I was once again reluctant to move. They eventually got me in the car and took me to Hospital for Acute Care. When we arrived I remember seeing lots of people sat around a table and we (Martin, Miranda & I) went into a side room. I was increasingly scared and did not want to be there. A male nurse came to us and we were showed to my room. I was sure that I had soiled myself and thought I had been doing this for some time. In my head I could not stop this. I asked staff if I was dead as I thought my hair and nails had stopped growing.

When the doctors came to see me I got even more paranoid. They asked if I was in pain and I daren’t tell them for fear of them pulling out my teeth or something similar. One of the doctors kept trying to test the “strength” of my muscles so I doubted her expertise (sorry). I was given medication but at the time I didn’t understand what for. I was on Olanzapine (anti-psychotic), Lorazepam (anti- anxiety) and Escitalopram (anti-depressant). Regardless of my lacking knowledge, I took the medication when I was called for it.

In the coming days I was too scared to leave my room. I was scared of the patients, the staff and the thought of everyone knowing I “wasn’t” ill. I thought the patients could hear my thoughts and that this would be how they knew I was not ill. I refused visitors except for Martin and Miranda; even then I didn’t want them to visit. As I was convinced that Martin and I were no longer, it only confused me when he visited everyday. I struggled to sleep as I kept having night terrors and was woken by loud bangs which at the time I thought were because I wasn’t supposed to be sleeping. (I later learnt that this was just bedroom doors when people were going to the loo in the middle of the night).

After a few days I started to come out of my room a bit more. I was still very untrusting of people and would often return to my room to try to escape. I would usually leave my room for medication & meal times and then scurry back as soon as I could. I would usually sit in the Ladies Lounge and found a couple of ladies who seemed nice. Unfortunately for me, the nice ladies seemed to leave the ward pretty quickly. I was introduced to colouring to keep me occupied. I found this very therapeutic although I thought I had the worst combination of colours. I was introduced to Rachel & we were encouraged to play Scrabble – I quickly learnt that Rachel was AMAZING with words!

Rachel was very quiet which I think I found great comfort in because whenever someone spoke to me I got scared. She would complement me, like how she liked my dressing gown (despite my thinking it was filthy!)

After a number of weeks I started to believe that what people were saying to me in conversations, was actually in my head. I thought that my thoughts were being transposed onto others. I thought that I had come up with dehydration and that it wasn’t real and that when the nurses were telling me to drink, that this was just my imagination and I wasn’t hearing what they were actually saying. When the Early Intervention Service (“EIS”) came to visit me on the ward I explained my thinking to them. I don’t remember the outcome of the conversation. I only know that more people from EIS came to see me and at the time I didn’t understand why. Again I felt that I was in some sort of trouble.

Most of my time in hospital is a hazy memory – maybe a coping mechanism of sorts. I remember closer to the time of my discharge there was a night I could not sleep. I had taken Zopliclone (which I had now been prescribed due to my sleep problems) but this had not worked. I sat up and wrote out my care plan and noted all of the occasions I had ever suffered from Depression. I also wrote a letter to Martin and Miranda, thanking them for all they had done and suggesting things I’d like to do for outings off the ward. By this time I had been made an informal patient and so was allowed to take allotted time off of the ward.

The following day I asked the nursing staff if I could go home to get some clean clothes and toiletries. I was allowed to go but had to let them know when they should expect me back. When I arrived home my mum was shocked to see me and asked who was with me – no-one. She could not believe I had walked home alone and insisted I get a taxi back with my things. Instead I asked my neighbours for a lift. When talking to my neighbours I ended up crying as I had been so nasty to Martin. They reassured me that I was not me at the time. (To this day it still upsets me that I kicked him out and pushed him away – he is my world!) My neighbours took me back to hospital and I unpacked.

Later that evening Martin and Miranda visited and we had a meeting with my lead nurse. I hadn’t felt so positive in weeks or even months. I was on a complete high. I felt so bad for being so horrid to Martin and Miranda. Martin seemed really pleased that I was more me. Miranda and the nurse were a little more sceptical and for good reason. Little did I know that the very next day I would come crashing back down. It is clear to me now that the lack of sleep had left me elated and that what goes up must come down. I had thought that I could be discharged soon given my mood but that was not to be the case. I have no idea how long the period of time was between this incident and my discharge from hospital. Shortly before my discharge I had started to make/change my bedding twice weekly and also started doing laundry – things I had not done the whole of my stay. I had also started to socialise more and cared less about people reading my thoughts. There were still occasions where paranoia would take over but then I was still unwell.

Click here to find out about the impact cannabis use can have on your life and mental health.  Follow the techniques and watch the video's to help minimise your cannabis use.

Topics include:

- Cannabis and Mental Health

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Once I was discharged from hospital, I had contact with the Crisis Team daily and then a few times a week to ensure that I was safe in my environment. I had begun to have a little bit of insight into my illness and had finally begun to acknowledge that I had in actual fact been ill. To what extent I had yet to learn. The Crisis Team then discharged me to the Early Intervention Service (EIS) and I was seen by an my Early Intervention worker and her team.

During the first few months of being back in the Community, a lot of adjustments would occur. I had not seen my friends properly for months as I had refused visitors whilst in hospital. The first hurdle was Christmas and Boxing Day. We were to spend this with Miranda and her family. I felt very awkward Christmas Day and did not want to be there. I felt my presence was ruining their day. Miranda had noticed that I was uncomfortable and had suggested we go home if that was what I wanted, so we left earlier than usual at around 5pm. Boxing Day came and I managed to put on a bit more of a front as I wanted to please/not let the family down. We opened presents as Miranda’s son was home and we had dinner together. We played games and the day was a little better than the previous – although I still felt incredibly awkward!

The next hurdle was my birthday outing. I had suggested a visit to McDonalds with our group of 8 friends (plus 3 children) as we had done the year before. Although this was a routine outing, it proved to be very overwhelming for me. My friend Hannah had noticed that I was very quiet and at a later date mentioned this and that I didn’t have to do anything for my birthday – no-one would have been offended if I had cancelled. I explained to her that I had wanted to do it as I needed to test myself.

The next social outing was dinner at my friend Paula’s. I was due to stay over but as I had not long been discharged from hospital, I did not know how I would feel staying away from home so I opted to just go for dinner. I now know I was not as chatty as I would usually be as I did not know what to talk about. Since this occasion, my friend told me that she and her children had noticed that I wasn’t myself and since then my true personality has returned.

The next challenging outing I recall was my friend’s birthday at the end of January. Martin was at work so I went alone to meet everyone at the restaurant. I was quite quiet and felt a bit out of my comfort zone, as essentially I was out with Martin’s friends as opposed to mine. No-one commented on my quietness so I now think that I had some residual paranoia from my illness.

During this time I have continued to see EIS and mentioned that my memory was not what it used to be and that I needed help with the social side of my recovery. I met with a Support, Time and Recovery (STR) worker and we started to action plan to affect this. I commenced Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (through my employer) on 6 February 2014 and after my assessment it was recommended that I should have 12 sessions. I learnt that anxiety triggers the amygdala which in turn lowers the IQ which explained why I was so forgetful and why I felt so stupid.

At every stage of my recovery I have felt better and better, and at every stage I have realised just how ill I previously was. I have gone back to Swing Dance (which I stopped doing at age 21) and I am now enjoying hobbies, socialising and listening music. I am back to being a gym bunny with my friend Sam (who has also been a great support to my recovery). By mid to end of April, I felt back to being socially-apt. My medication is currently under review and I have now gone back to work full time after completing an 8 week phased return. My recovery is still ongoing and I will continue to be under the care of Mental Health Services until early 2017.

I hope this has been a useful insight to Psychosis and demonstrates just how scary and debilitating this disorder is.

                     

   

The essential facts on “legal highs” – plus help and advice.

The EYE Project is a research project supported by:

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Swandean, Arundel Road, Worthing, West Sussex, BN13 3EP