How on line therapy helped grieving son's anxiety and depression

Rob Coo[er
Rob Coo[er
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People are being urged to seek help during Mental Health Awareness Week as a survey of 16-35 year-olds reveals 94 per cent are masking their true emotions by avoiding people, or social situations but more than a third of people  admitted that they didn't know where to go for help with mental health issues.

Rob Cooper, 42, from Market Weighton suffered severe anxiety and depression after his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer whilst he was away on honeymoon in 2010.

"I returned from my honeymoon and only had a couple of days with my mum before she died and my world fell apart," recalls Rob.

"I didn't know how to handle the grief of losing her and tried to bottle things up and hide how I was feeling from friends and family. Instead of talking about it I started spending money way beyond my means and gambling to get a 'high' which provided temporary relief, but then I'd crash back down again and get angry seeing how much debt I was in. My marriage was put under enormous strain and I felt ashamed of my behaviour.

"I was having panic attacks and I came close to ending my life at one point".

Long wait for appointment

Rob went to his GP who put him on a waiting list to see a counsellor. It took a year to get an appointment and the counselling didn't help. He then managed to find another counsellor locally and the sessions were starting to help but Rob's recovery was set back when the counsellor turned private and Rob couldn't afford private sessions.

"I heard an advert on the radio for Ieso Cognitive Behavioural Therapy online. I was really sceptical, I couldn't understand how someone I couldn't see or hear would be able to help me but I knew I needed to try something so I self-referred. My therapist, Donna, was amazing. She recognised the cycle of my behaviour so quickly and together we have developed techniques to get me back into a good condition and feel in control. I've managed to repay my debts, developed coping techniques for managing panic attacks and I now get my 'high' from helping others through fundraising for charity and have even managed to conquer my fear of flying thanks to the techniques I've learnt" Rob said.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that helps patients to understand how their thoughts and behaviours can affect the way they feel or deal with certain if it makes you cry, it will help you to feel better if you let it out. If you're bottling things up like a fizzy bottle of drink the pressure builds up and things get messy. I still have bad days, of course, everyone does, but I'm now in a position to be able to handle these feelings and do things that will have a positive impact on others" Rob said. Rob has recently run the London Marathon raising £3,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

New research commissioned on behalf of Ieso Digital Health reveals 93 per cent of those surveyed in East Riding have had three or more mental health problems. The research reveals that in addition to masking their emotions by avoiding people or social situations 92 per cent are hiding behind 'busyness'; 89 per cent are pretending to be happy, and 80 per cent are overusing humour.

Smiling depressives

Often people who try to mask their depression end up filling their agenda and living a hectic lifestyle that produces great fatigue and exhaustion, leading to a vicious cycle as the harder we try to avoid painful thoughts and emotions, the more powerful they become. 'Smiling Depressives' appear happy to others while internally suffering from depressive symptoms and often going undetected by others due to their external display of happiness which is used as a defence mechanism to hide or mask their true feelings. Underneath the mask, they may be suffering from sadness, panic attacks, low self-esteem, insomnia and in some cases, suicidal thoughts. When depressive thoughts and feelings aren't addressed they build-up.

Ieso Digital Health is the leading provider for online therapy on behalf of the NHS in the UK. Ieso Digital Health is providing services on behalf of the NHS in East Riding.

People over the age of 18 who are registered to a participating GP in East Riding can self-refer for free to benefit from Ieso online CBT at