OVERCOME DEPRESSION AND ANXIETY Blues Begone can help you feel better. It is a software product that can help you to recover from depression or anxiety. The Problem of Depression and Anxiety: The Facts The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that depression is the largest worldwide cause of disability, and the fourth largest burden of disease. In the United Kingdom, official data estimates that 7.7% of the population suffers from depression and 10% from anxiety. In the United States, it is estimated that 9.5% of the population annually suffers from depression and 18.1% from anxiety. The personal and financial cost of these problems are huge. And yet they are highly treatable, given the right approach and the right tools. Women suffer much higher levels of depression and anxiety than men. It is not clear why, but despite this disturbing fact, women and men benefit equally from effective, structured treatment. There are a number of ways to access useful treatments; there are pharmacological (drug) treatments and psychological treatments. It is relatively easy to start a drug regimen, but it can be a lot harder to find a good, appropriately trained therapist who uses the most up-to-date, evidence-supported treatment methods. The majority of people who suffer from depression and anxiety do not seek professional help. They may not even consult their doctor although they may suffer increased health problems and have lower satisfaction with life. One of the main causes of psychological problems is stress at work. The Health and Safety Executive in the United Kingdom estimates that in 2004/5 around half a million individuals in Britain believed they were experiencing work-related stress at a level that was making them ill, and that nearly 1 in 5 of all working individuals thought their job was very or extremely stressful. In the United States, 25% of people view their job as the most stressful aspect of their lives. The Human Cost Whatever the source, psychological problems make life harder. They affect relationships, satisfaction with life and income. Yet most people soldier on doing their best. The majority of depression and anxiety remains untreated, resulting in years of poor life quality. Some people find themselves unable to cope. Suicide rates from depression are higher than from any other cause. WHO estimates that 850,000 lives are lost annually due to depression related suicide. What stops people seeking help that will make their lives easier? Some key factors are: general unavailability of treatment resources; stigma attached to having a psychological problem; failure to recognize a psychological problem as opposed to being overworked or 'just going through a bad patch'; or the high cost of treatment. Some people do not believe they can be helped and so do not try to find help. Some people fear they are “going mad” and that talking about it will make things worse. All of these problems benefit from the right kind of help. Clinical Data Show That Blues Begone Helps Users To Recover From Depression Blues Begone has been created by two brothers, Drs. David and Byron Purves. David is a practicing psychologist and academic. Byron is a systems and software specialist. Together they have become a powerful team and produced this innovative delivery mechanism that presents an established therapeutic method of recovery from depression and anxiety. Blues Begone is an effective software product that can help you to recover from depression or anxiety. It’s Easy To Use: • Each Blues Begone episode contains around 8-10 agenda items • The first item is a Talking Head: this introduces the theme of the episode. • Most episodes contain the Life Monitor - this provides a daily check on how things are going (from time to time it generates progress graphs) • Every fifth episode includes the Purves Depression Questionnaire. This is used to monitor progress • Episodes include these kinds of elements: • Information Units. These are like web pages, but do not require access to the internet • Talking Heads. A cartoon head talks to the user • Conversations. Two cartoon heads carry on a conversation • Tasks. These cover a wide range of aspects, usually involving a user in some type of activity • Tips, Hints and Jokes. These are text boxes with content read out by one of the voices • Cartoons and Animations. These are used to engage the user to think about things in a new way Blues Begone continually encourages its users to accept responsibility for their own recovery. Blues Begone supplies a collection of resources that support that recovery. Active Self Help Active Self Help is the viewpoint that each person has within the necessary capacity for self-healing. Effective self- healing requires information and guidance about what to do, and a motivation to create personal change. The principles of Active Self-Help are: • Understand a problem to find the solution • Seeing the problem objectively by standing apart from it • Taking small steps to solve a large problem • Learning problem-solving skills from examples • Focusing on solutions not problems Blues Begone Includes: Blues Begone leads you progressively through the process of understanding why your problems were created and how to understand them. It does this by offering you a structured daily program of Cognitive Behavioural knowledge and techniques designed to discover and rectify the faulty thoughts, beliefs and assumptions that create and maintain psychological problems. This is achieved by: • 30 episodes, with over 300 possible agenda items • extensive use of natural-sounding artificial speech • extensive use of cartoons and animations to illustrate significant points • user progress tracking and feedback • embedded web pages to convey useful information. (Internet access is not needed for this.) Blues Begone is Adaptive and Responsive It is able to offer a unique change process that specifically targets personal recovery needs. Few users will ever have exactly the same Blues Begone experience, since there are more than a million content variations within the program. • Blues Begone measures degree of depression using the Purves Depression Questionnaire (PDQ). The PDQ detects areas requiring special attention, like bereavement, anger, restlessness, need for assertiveness, low self esteem, sleep problems, use of drugs and alcohol etc. These and other specific items are responsively added to your unique Blues Begone Roadmap to Recovery. • Further content is also adapted based on age, gender, country and religious preference leading to a functionally infinite and personally tailored program. • Blues Begone speaks to you as a human being, calls you by your name, and remembers your personal information. • One of the reasons that many depressed people do not seek help is a fear about loss of privacy. • Blues Begone is completely confidential. Interaction with Blues Begone in completely private. Access to data requires a personal password. A user does not need to be on the internet for full access to content. • Many people simply cannot afford personal therapy. Blues Begone costs much less than time with a professional therapist, or a course of medication. • National Health and health support systems may not have sufficient resources to meet needs. Blues Begone is a cost-effective way to meet this need for many patients. • But Blues Begone is not for everyone, and not for everything. People who are severely depressed, or may be inclined to harm themselves or others, are strongly urged to consult a medical professional. Symptoms of Depression: • Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness • Loss of interest and pleasure in activities • Decreased energy, lethargy • Insomnia or oversleeping • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions • Appetite loss or overeating • Thoughts of death or suicide • Restlessness, irritability • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment Meeting Needs NOW! Innovation • Through effective use of computing technologies • Making Blues Begone a stand-alone package that can be used at home Standard Practice Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) is the most widely used methodology for treatment of depression and anxiety. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Is Effective Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been widely demonstrated to be effective in combating depression and anxiety. Recommended CBT is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (UK) and the American Psychiatric Association for treatment of depression and anxiety. CBT has a practical emphasis, and is easy to understand. Its general principle is that low mood follows from negative thought patterns. Blues Begone is based upon the tried and tested methods used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Therefore users of Blues Begone find the information accessible, easy to understand and to use. As part of the development and testing of Blues Begone, we interviewed many users to find out Blues Begone is based upon the tried and tested methods used in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Therefore users of Blues Begone find the information accessible, easy to understand and to use. As part of the development and testing of Blues Begone we interviewed many users to find out about their experiences. Below we offer these views. (All segments in italics are verbatim user quotes from in-depth interviews.) “It sounds silly but you felt as if someone was on your side. The talking heads cheered you on and it did feel as though there was support, despite the fact that they were invented” “To begin with, you know, I’d sort of, I was...probably crying nearly every day, but by the end of the program, I’d feel sad but I wasn’t as tearful. So that was a sort of definite physical marker, you know, a tangible marker that something was different” Users were open to a new experience. They were willing to give things a go, despite uncertainty as to the process or the outcome. They seemed to be curious by nature, intrigued by the program and their own process. “I have irritable bowel syndrome and I was aware that it was a bit better…And then I definitely started sleeping better…longer.” Users’ reported that their experience of the program appeared to share many similarities with the process of face to face therapy both in terms of the course of therapy (establishing, developing, maintaining and ending a “relationship”), the benefits (e.g. validation, support, encouragement). Users appreciated the level of personalization in Blues Begone and found that it made engagement and use that much easier. "And the fact that the talking heads looked so real…and sounded real and always talked good sense, you know I wasn’t able to sort of…sort of trip them up if you know what I mean. I felt that everything they were saying made sense … I came to trust it, the programme" "I think it felt a bit, it felt more real than other software like if you’re using Microsoft word, cos of the people and the characters and it’s much more interactive because of that. So it’s kind of a bit more alive" "It was strange but definitely there. If you compared it to a human being being in front of you…I mean in a way it took out some of the problems of communication with a human being. ….but I did find it, it felt…I had the sound turned up loud and so I didn’t have to worry about what they were thinking" "Social interaction is a great antidote for depression and that these slightly amusing disembodied heads, which really were like animated cartoons but you pay, well I paid attention to listen to them" "When it was over I can remember now that sort of feeling kind of sorry it had ended…it’s a bit like a mini-relationship (laughs) and that you sort of …you’re, you know it’s going to end and you look forward to the ending of it cos it’s an inconvenience to you and then when it has ended you actually realise that it’s a bit of…it’s loss” Blues Begone is a revolutionary means of delivering a proven treatment for the relief of depression and anxiety. Users from many countries are now interacting with Blues Begone to learn to help themselves. We continue to research Blues Begone. How Does Blues Begone Work? Blues Begone uses the Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) approach to the treatment of depression and anxiety. This approach is widely recognized as the most effective, since it not only helps people to feel better, but it also trains people to feel better for longer. CBT is based on the wisdom that depression and anxiety are human problems that are created and maintained by strong negative and self defeating thought patterns. CBT challenges and changes these self destructive thought patterns, replacing them with more accurate and useful ways of thinking. Gaining control over negative thoughts and destructive feelings gives you more control over yourself so you can have the life you want. Blues Begone gives you 15-40 hours of structured CBT. It is designed to be used about 5 times per week for between 20-30 minutes each time. But you always have total control over your own Active Self Help treatment. We have found that some users move quickly through the program while others may spend an hour or more on an episode. You can do as little or as much as you want in any session. Blues Begone will always take you back to where you left off. Dry text on a website is likely to be boring and probably does not engage your interest. Blues Begone is nothing like a boring website. It has more than 300 individual elements, to keep you engaged, with more than 20 interactive tasks, because you learn by doing, with more than 35 cartoons and animations that bring important therapeutic principles to life. Stimulation and motivation are nourished and sustained by the huge fund of variety within Blues Begone. Contact details Psychology For You Limited www.psychology4com.com Email: Contactus@psychology4you.com Telephone: 0845 603 5733 Fax: 0845 603 2188 Mailing address: Princess House, Princess Way, Swansea, SA1 3LW, UK.