One man’s quest to find a cure for his disabling depression
10 October 2018
TranQuality has spun out a proven mental health diagnosis and treatment service, and is making it available to all.
Mental health is likely to affect one in four people at some point in their life. In 2017, The World Health Organisation identified depression as the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. It is a condition that is a real problem for individuals, and costs society and businesses billions of pounds in therapies and lost productivity. It knows no boundaries. It does not distinguish between young or old and it is not something of the imagination.
Phil Merrison’s story brings some revealing insights and it chronicles his search for a cure to his debilitating mental health condition.
Fourteen years ago, Phil had a demanding job. On his way home from work one night he broke down, feeling unable to cope anymore. With feelings of shame, emasculation and burdened with his difficulties he became isolated, weak and physically and emotionally exhausted. Anxiety and depression brought him to his lowest point in 2017, leading him to start training to compete in triathlons. He successfully completed a Sprint Triathlon, Olympic Triathlon and the Half Iron Man but after another bout of anxiety and depression his ability to continue training diminished. As he reports: “At its worst, anxiety and depression forces one to lose all value and enjoyment in life, becoming physically exhausted while the mind never stops”.
Over the years Phil has tried numerous treatment types: talking therapies and several types of medication. He found TranQuality, a spinout from a leading NHS Mental Health Trust [Navigo] with a long record of successfully treating mental health without the need for medication. There, he was treated by a neuroscientist and a professor of psychiatry.
After his mental health assessment, he was presented with a three-dimensional image of his brain that highlighted the areas that were not functioning as they should. Following a course of targeted Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (tTMS) focused on the specific areas experiencing cognitive dysfunction to treat his anxiety and depression, he built up the strength to start training again and compete in the London Triathlon, the largest in the world.
Phil’s advice for anyone suffering with a mental health issue is to “seek help and speak out, it can be lifesaving.”
Dr Ritesh Aggarwal, Chief Operating Officer of TranQuality says, “Mental health, to date has been measured subjectively. We find that when someone can see a physical, medically derived representation of their mental health, they start to take it a lot more seriously. Just in the same way you would if you had an eye test, dental check or blood test.”
“Mental health can be so difficult to diagnose, especially because everyone deals with it differently,” Aggarwal continues. “Subconsciously, some people develop such good coping techniques they are unaware they may be suffering until symptoms become more serious. Others find it hard to distinguish between mental ill-health and temporary stress. TranQuality is giving individuals a true neuroscientific diagnosis of their mental health and offering them the appropriate interventions to improve or maintain their emotional wellbeing.
“We are delivering our clinically tested, non-invasive 3D brain mapping and treatment service to the widest audience in the UK and overseas, directly to private patients, through the workplace in both public and private organisations. NICE- and FDA-approved, it allows clear identification of any stress, depression or anxiety as part of a personalised, objective mental health assessment and treatment plan.
“By showing commitment to acting on mental health, attitudes will change, and the stigma will be reduced.”
For workplace wellbeing, there is a focus on measured improvement for a business while being centred around employee engagement. Reduction in absenteeism and presenteeism, together with improved staff retention, deliver improved financial returns for businesses. Tracking marked improvements over the course of the programme is key to success. TranQuality works with organisations from the top down, identifying objectives for measuring return on investment and serving the needs of employees.
Organisations and individuals alike can now take a new approach to mental health and with TranQuality could help to prevent depression and anxiety taking hold.
by Bernard McMahon, Chairman, TranQuality Solutions Limited