Dr Julian Nesbitt (Chandos 07), who studied Medicine at Bristol Medical School, has developed The Dr Julian App, which enables patients suffering with mental health issues to connect with mental healthcare specialists quickly and securely from the comfort of their own home.
Julian was inspired to develop this innovative mobile app after long shifts in Swindon General Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department.
“In A&E you find yourself dealing with the very acute end of mental ill-health. I felt that with every conversation I had with someone with mental health problems, they weren’t getting the help they needed. The NHS does a brilliant job but the waiting lists to see a counsellor can be up to six months. When you’ve got an issue you aren’t always able to get that help.”
His app matches individuals with therapists and counsellors qualified in the UK. People can book video appointments through the app, which has built with secure video-link technology that is scientifically proven to be as effective as traditional face-to-face therapy and psychiatry.
Julian said, “There’s lots of evidence proving that video link techniques are just as effective for mental health as face-to-face therapies. The app isn’t going to be for everyone, obviously. Some people will want that time spent sitting in a room. But lots of people don’t have the time or they might have anxiety issues and would rather not leave their house.”
The app was developed with online psychotherapy expert Philippa Weitz, who has also designed the training for the app’s therapists. So far, more than 65 therapists have signed up to the scheme. They range from generalists to specialists in areas like family counselling. Julian added, “All the therapists really like the app so far. They like that it’s easy to use and that they can put in when they’re free and work around their day job.”
To assist those suffering mental health issues the app provides detailed information on mental health conditions, suggestions on how to manage them and discusses the different types of therapy available, with counselling appointments starting from £45 per hour.
Julian commented, “I’ve always been fascinated with mental health. The heart and lungs are a pump, but there are so many things about the brain that we just don’t understand. My goal is to increase the accessibility of mental health services.”
The app launched on 1 September 2017 and is available on iOS Apple devices.