All of us have ‘stuff’ and no-one is completely ‘sorted’. I’m no exception. Like everyone, life has thrown me a few curve balls but along the way people have been there to help me regain my shine and it’s my desire to try and do the same for others that inspired me to create ShinyMind.
The most important relationship any of us have is the one with our own mind and body. It affects every single relationship any of us will ever have throughout our lifetime. But the majority of us don’t have a great relationship with ourselves. We tend to be hard and unforgiving on ourselves.
Most of us don’t understand how and why we think as we do. We spend more time learning how to drive than learning how to think. The father of American psychology, William James, said that the greatest weapon any human has over stress is the ability to choose one thought over another.
We recognised that to change thinking around psychotherapy, eliminate the stigma and show it as a powerful agent of change in helping people feel more resilient and happier in their lives, we’d have to create an evidence base, constantly evaluating ShinyMind as an intrinsic part of our progress.
Results were consistently positive. Over 99% of attendees said they’d recommend it to colleagues. People felt better, more resilient, less stressed and less anxious, with independent longitudinal studies showing enduring positive impact, greater motivation and positivity.
ShinyMind was born out of a unique partnership with the Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust, a specialist neurological trust in Liverpool, with whom we had worked for several years. Their forward-thinking CEO Hayley Citrine shared our vision and generously agreed to partner with us to help co-design the content.
Staff from all groups and levels across the organisation came together to talk to us about what would help them perform better at work, feel supported and go home each day knowing they’d done a great job. As a result we captured life, all of it, the day to day impact of stress, isolation, retirement, marriage, divorce, breakdown, loss, illness and every other facet of being a human.
What we discovered is that people want to be empowered to learn and grow to build their own self-awareness, to embrace tools and support to help them take control and get back to their best self. They want a safe space, confidential to them and interactive to help them learn, grow and be empowered to be the best version of themselves in all aspects of their life. They also need to feel part of something, to belong to a community underpinned by messages of support for each other.
By March 2019 and despite bumps in the road, a crash-course in app development, nearly running out of time and money, we got there and ShinyMind was launched after just eight months to get from paper to reality. The rollout started into the NHS and independent research showed us that it massively helped staff, particularly as the first wave of Covid began to bite.
It’s a tough gig getting doctors, nurses and mental health professionals to use a mental health app and so we were thrilled that not only was ShinyMind personally benefitting GPs and nurses, but they had informally begun to share elements of it to help their patients. As a result we’re now in the middle of several patient studies to see how ShinyMind can benefit people who’ve been diagnosed with depression or anxiety and other long-term conditions. And the early signs are hugely positive…ShinyMind is working for them.
Ultimately I see ShinyMind as a global force for good, affordable and accessible for all and helping each of us feel empowered to take control, discover, learn, grow and flourish through life. After all, everyone deserves a ShinyMind. We’re in this together.