From a shared vision that everyone has the right to know the skills for good mental health, for recovery and resilience.
Positive Mental Training
In 2004, starting out with audio CDs, Dr Alastair Dobbin, a GP and Dr Sheila Ross, a health promotion specialist, teamed up to create the Positive Mental Training programme for mental health and recovery. It was developed from a Swedish Olympic Sports performance programme with a positive self-development focus, rather than a clinical illness-based approach.
It has been shown in research to build positive emotions and good psychological functioning, elements which according to Self Determination Theory underpin self-esteem and intrinsic motivation.
Now in the Feeling Good App, it is recommended for use by NHS Borders & NHS Lothian, Public Health England ‘Every Mind Matters’ campaign and is accredited by NHS Digital Apps library.
Alastair and Sheila continue to develop and research Positive Mental Training, growing its use in many fields of health & social care. The Positive Mental Training approach underpins all the modules in the Feeling Good Apps.
'I developed an interest in the mind from reading Freud as a teenager. Studying medicine, I became interested in the science of the body and so became a family doctor, but I never lost an interest in the mind. I soon realised that there was a huge burden of distress in most of my patients and I started to look for techniques that might help them.
In the late 90’s I came across a Swedish Olympic sports coach and recognised that his approach was very similar to mine, focussing on strengthening positive visualisations, rather than looking at what is going wrong. I teamed up with Sheila who, working in health promotion, also shared the same concepts of recovery and wellbeing.
We adapted the ideas of sports coaching for use in the health service and Positive Mental Training came to life. Since then scientific research has confirmed it's beneficial effects on increasing recovery in depression and anxiety, and also on helping people do well in their work, sport, home and social life.'
‘Life can be so stressful, it’s not surprising that 1 in 4 of us experience depression or anxiety at some time. I was not taught how to look after my mental health, only physical health. I’ve now learnt from developing Positive Mental Training that its possible to learn skills for emotional balance, to grow resilience and feel more positive about life.
I’m so pleased to be able to bring these skills and techniques to others and to work with all the amazing people in the NHS to help support their work. It’s exciting too to have begun working with younger people, in colleges and schools to give them the tools to develop their potential. The goal setting approach from athletics is especially applicable to finding the right path in life.’