My Journey To Tacklit
Cracks in the armour
At a time when everything in my life was looking up, I started to develop severe depression. Whilst I tried to cover it up and deal with it personally, I was losing the battle to my own mental health. On good days, I’d shrug it off and try to convince myself of it’s diminishing influence on me. On bad days, I was completely crippled into a state of paralysis, unable to get off the couch or do almost anything. Whilst I took a holistic approach to other’s mental health, I continued to wrestle with my own mind in privacy, unable to articulate my need for help to even those closest to me. The number of bad days crept up, the number of good days started to dwindle. It was a fight I wasn’t going to win on my own.
In August 2018 I found myself at an all time low. I was regularly having thoughts of “what’s the point” and on two occasions decided to end my life, but luckily by the time I drove to the location I had reminded myself all I had to live for. Whilst awareness has improved, we still have a long way to go in terms of developing the language or processes for dealing with mental health issues in day to day life. Especially in young men. This experience pushed me to the edge and I finally looked for help.
I started therapy. Simply saying how I felt out loud was heartbreaking. The early stages of the therapy process remain one of the hardest things I have ever done.
Due to the severity of my condition, I completed over 100 hours of 1-2-1 sessions in less than two years. Whilst I still have so much to learn and still suffer with extreme highs and lows, I have been given a second chance through this life saving service. Through helping myself and others, my second mission in life was discovered.
Convention compromised care
I started to see real flaws in the rather linear way we treat those struggling with their mental health.
From being ‘sofa-side’ with a therapist, my variable mood really governed each session’s progress. Some days I’d be on a high, I’d nod along feigning improvement but secretly knowing I’d be set back when the tides in my mind changed. Some days I could be irritable and indifferent, guarding myself from the therapist, making it difficult for them to seek out another area to focus on or another route to experiment with. When I was at my lowest and I needed my therapist the most, I wouldn’t be in a session at that moment in time. Our regimented routine didn’t move in tandem with my variable and volatile condition. This vastly limited what we could achieve together.
Secondly, whilst the professionals I worked with were clearly experts in their field and good at their job, they were also constrained by a number of factors beyond their control. My therapists were always professional and made time for me, but they were weighed down by the huge administration workload required for each patient. Due diligence and processes are designed to protect patients, but in practice these protocols cause substantial strain on those implementing them.
The tools available to my therapist also seemed inflexible and ill-equipped for the job. Coming from my world of data-rich measurement and performance in professional sport, I expected to be schooled by the medical landscapes superior tools and technology. Surgeons and doctors had the best funded kit in the world, capable of a new handful of miracles every few years. Instead of being wowed by their advanced treatment system, I was met by a purely analogue experience without any support for the practitioner. Measurement was administered by hand, limited data was collected outside our sessions and all analysis was left up to the practitioner with no smart support.
Being involved in Tacklit to help solve the major problems faced by mental health professionals in their day to day lives is something I am truly passionate about.
Aggregating all functions into one easy to use platform, Tacklit improves patient’s lives through smart technology. Designed in collaboration with clinicians, the system maximises clinical effectiveness by automating low value admin tasks that occupy precious potential time for improvement. Tacklit also uses bespoke analytics and patient dashboards to give clinicians better oversight. These tools empower practitioners to deliver patient-centred care with data-led decisions.
My dream is that Tacklit will evolve and change with the practitioners who adopt it. As technology and innovation has improved the way we treat physical health, we want to equip mental health heroes with the tools they need to succeed.