Swedish startup says its brain stimulation headset can help treat depression during COVID-19 pandemic

Flow Neuroscience gives advice on how people can protect their mental health
By Tammy Lovell
05:40 am
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Source: Flow

Clinical psychologists at medical device firm Flow Neuroscience have offered guidance to support and manage mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Swedish startup says that its brain stimulation headset is a modern drug-free treatment for depression, which does not require health services, such as the NHS. 

Clinical studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that the type of tDCS brain stimulation used in the Flow headset had a similar impact to antidepressants. 

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However, the company warns that people suffering from clinical depression should contact their doctor or psychologist if their symptoms worsen. 

It also recommends that to maintain good mental health at this time, people filter news and social media, talk about their feelings by accessing helplines or mental health services if necessary, exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. The Flow app, free to download on iOS and Android, has advice to improve nutrition and reduce the risk of depression at home.

WHY IT MATTERS 

According to the latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 33,2930 confirmed cases of COVID-19 globally, including 171,424 in Europe. 

Flow Neuroscience says that its headset can help relieve pressure on health services such as the NHS, which are under strain at this time.  

THE LARGER CONTEXT 

Flow Neuroscience was founded in 2016 by clinical psychologist Daniel Mansson and neuroscientist Erik Rehn, and consists of prominent researchers in the field of psychiatry, clinical psychology, brain stimulation, neuroscience and machine learning. In July last year, it landed $1.5m in funding in a round led by Khosla Ventures. 

Also in 2019, the startup launched a chatbot service to treat depression, which allows users to engage in conversation, track their mood, meditate and download curated video content. Flow Neuroscience has also been working with outpatient clinics in London’s Harley Street district, to offer its brain stimulation headset to patients as an add-on treatment for depression.

During the COVID-19 crisis people have been increasingly turning to digital resources to support good mental health, including online mindfulness courses and apps. 

ON THE RECORD 

Daniel Mansson, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Flow Neuroscience said: “Global concern about coronavirus means it’s very important to keep the normal routine as much as possible when it comes to sleep, nutrition and exercise, particularly in people with existing mental health problems.

“In the current situation, finding ways to maintain your normal routine is essential to reducing stress and potential depressive thoughts that may appear.”