Irish start-up develops ‘e-therapy’ programme for teens

11 Feb 2013

Members of the Sheevawn musical youth theatre group from Bray, Co Wicklow, at the launch of the SeeMySelf online programme that SilverCloud Health has created for Bodywhys. Photo via Conor McCabe photography

In a new move for the e-therapy space, Irish start-up SilverCloud Health has developed an online therapy programme for the eating disorders association Bodywhys in order to support teenagers and to help them with issues such as self-esteem and self-image.

The online e-therapy programme is called SeeMySelf and it is being launched today to coincide with the start of Eating Disorders Awareness Week.

According to Bodywhys, the aim of the SeeMySelf platform will be to support teenagers with self-esteem issues and to help prevent these from developing into eating disorders or other related psychological problems.

Irish company SilverCloud Health, which specialises in computerised therapeutic and wellness programmes, worked with Bodywhys to create the online platform.

The company is a spin-out from Technology Enhanced Therapy, a three-year joint translational research project carried out by the NDRC, Trinity College Dublin’s school of computer science and statistics and Parents Plus at the Mater University Hospital.

Last year, the Irish Software Association and Irish Venture Capital Association named SilverCloud the ‘Most Investable Business in Ireland’.

As for SeeMySelf, Bodywhys said the goal of the programme is to help improve young people’s sense of themselves. It has been piloted by a panel of teenagers.

Participants on the programme will also get to engage with a designated supporter during SeeMySelf to help add a more personal touch.

“Programmes such as this, where there is the combination of ‘human’ contact and support, together with an online programme, should become a necessary and normal part of the education of our young people,” said Jacinta Hastings, CEO of Bodywhys.

With digital technologies and social media now such a big part of teenagers’ lives, Ken Cahill, SilverCloud Health’s CEO, said it makes sense to create new online systems for healthcare professionals to support young people.

SeeMySelf will be available from Bodywhys.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic