Medically approved in the UK and EU, the Flow headset and therapy app treatment for depression aims to tackle ‘lockdown loneliness’ and mental health outcomes by providing at-home access to treatment.
Flow involves patients wearing a brain stimulation headset, while using a behavioural therapy app, which improves areas known to impact depression, including sleep and nutrition.
WHY IT MATTERS
As England is once again in lockdown, new research shows the rate of ‘lockdown loneliness’ and its impact on mental health is as high as 27% in the UK.
As the NHS strains to support an increase in mental health conditions, Flow aims to alleviate the burden by improving accessibility with immediate treatment that can be delivered to homes in 48 hours.
The type of brain stimulation used in the Flow headset (tDCS) has been shown in clinical randomised controlled trials, including New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry, to have a similar impact to antidepressants, but with less-severe side effects.
The research identifies that people with depression were almost twice as likely to be lonely, and highlights the importance of effective targeted intervention to reduce the impact of lockdown loneliness.
The main findings showed that:
The prevalence of loneliness was 27%
49% to 70% of respondents reported feeling isolated
People meeting clinical criteria for depression were almost twice as likely to be lonely
Worse quality sleep due to the pandemic increased the odds of being lonely
The Flow therapy app program features an interactive chatbot therapist, a constant companion, which offers personalised behavioural therapy in areas proven to reduce symptoms of depression, including sleep.
THE LARGER CONTEXT
In May, NHS trusts were able to recommend the Flow app to patients as it joined the ORCHA app library, a platform which evaluates health apps for governments and health organisations worldwide.
In a recent user analysis, 81% of patients using the Flow headset and therapy app reported feeling better after 3 weeks.
ON THE RECORD
Daniel Mansson, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Flow said: “As England is once again in lockdown, it’s important that people can get immediate access to effective therapy. Our clear treatment pathway empowers those most vulnerable to loneliness during these times to take control and self-manage their depression with a drug-free treatment from the comfort of their home.”