The LightHearts UK mental health project, which features a free 10-week on-line mental health course for sufferers of stress, anxiety and low mood, will go live on Monday January 16th.
The project has been set up by two best friends Liz Axham - a senior NHS psychiatric nurse who works extensively with sufferers of severe anxiety and depression - and Katya Jezzard-Puyraud, a holistic massage therapist and mental wellbeing teacher.
The project, which is packed full of advice, techniques and scientific research along with specially produced audios and sourced videos, is split into 10 weekly course sections that anyone can do online for free in their own time. And it's not just for people with diagnosed mental health issues - anyone with rising stress levels will find it helpful. (As a little taster of what's in store, you can click on the audio below taken from Week 1 of the course.)
Katya and Liz decided to fund and develop the project themselves after a round of severe government cuts that left many of the country's NHS mental health teams struggling. Redundancies and budget cuts, coupled with a huge increase of people with mental health issues resulted in many of the already over-worked teams being unable to provide care except in the most acute cases.
Katya explains: "Despite the amazing work of NHS mental health teams around the country, for sufferers on low income these cuts mean the best they can hope for is to be put on a long waiting list for therapy, or be prescribed anti-depressants. We hope our project can bridge that gap between someone feeling desperate and being able to find the right treatment."
The course features current techniques being used by the NHS such as Mindfulness and CBT, as well as effective methods taken from around the world. It also contains useful tips called "Mental Fixits" which are personal techniques that both Liz and Katya have found invaluable in their own lives.
Liz said: "We wanted to show a wide range of techniques so that people get a chance to try out what suits them and what works for their particular issues. We want people to build their own tool kit of methods - their own set of "Mental Fixits" - which they can delve into whenever they feel their anxiety rising or their mood plummeting."
If you'd like to receive the links to the project on the launch date, you can sign up using the form below (email addresses are kept confidential) or simply put January 16th in your diary and be sure to visit www.lighthearts-uk.com and click on the 'Mental Wellbeing' section.