According to the World Health Organisation, one in four people will be affected by mental health problems at some point in their lives. The Health & Safety Executive reports that mental health problems cost companies £15 billion annually in the UK alone, an average of £500 per employee per year. However, access to traditional face-to-face therapy and ongoing support is often limited due to long waiting lists and high related costs, and stigma attached to mental health prevents many from seeking the help they need.
Led by leading psychiatrist Dr Andres Fonseca, and videogame legend Richard Flower, Thrive uses gamification and augmented reality to deliver psychologically-proven methods for managing mental health. By doing things digitally, Thrive is able to provide support at a fraction of the cost of traditional, private therapy, achieves a greater degree of treatment completion and reduces users’ worry about stigma or judgement.
Thrive currently has three apps available for use: ‘Arachnophobia Free’ helps users overcome the fear of spiders using exposure therapy; ‘Agoraphobia Free’ treats the fear of open spaces through Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT); and ‘Feel Stress Free’ uses CBT to prevent, detect and treat depression and anxiety – the two most common mental health conditions globally. Thrive is looking to expand their number of apps to tackle a wide range of issues such as agitation in dementia and self-management in psychosis.
Individual users can download and use all three apps without the input of a health professional, and Feel Stress Free is available on license to businesses that are looking to improve their employees’ wellbeing.
Thrive Chairman and Clearly Social Angel investor Stephen Murdoch, said: “We’re very excited by recent studies done on Feel Stress Free at UCL and three other UK universities. We discovered that Feel Stress Free reduced the average recovery time by half, from 8 weeks to 4, for students suffering from clinical depression or anxiety. On average students used it 2 or 3 times a week for an average of 7 minutes per session, despite Thrive not prompting them in any way at all. This shows Thrive has the potential to be a game changer for overwhelmed services in any organisation.”
Robin F, a user of Thrive, added: “What really stands out for me about Thrive is its usability – they have a perfect blend of good design and psychological know-how. I’ve been impressed that an app, with no human interaction, can be so motivating, without making me feel pressured. I feel like I’m able to take control of my mental health.”
Further commenting, Hayley Collen, investment director at ClearlySo, said: “Mental health awareness has never been higher and its great that Thrive offers an innovative self-treatment option. The combination of clinical and entertainment expertise at Thrive clearly gives their products an edge. Their apps have the potential to positively impact millions of lives, and I’m excited to see what they do next.”