Top models, artists and sportspersons support Kiwi mental health app

Model and St Heliers resident Tamsyn Cornwall says Thinkladder will be helpful for New Zealanders suffering from a ...
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Model and St Heliers resident Tamsyn Cornwall says Thinkladder will be helpful for New Zealanders suffering from a mental illness.

Famous Kiwis have thrown their support behind a new mental health app.

Mobile app Thinkladder, launched on World Mental Health Day on Wednesday, is designed to help people cope with depression and anxiety on a day-to-day basis. 

Model Cassidy Morris, artist Lizzie Snow, surfer Zen Wallis and Instagram model Tamsyn Cornwall were among some of the celebrities who attended the event. 

Two years ago Auckland resident Mark Gatt and his wife Katie Gatt left full-time jobs to pursue Thinkladder.

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"The demand for mental health services is increasing and sometimes the demand cannot be met due to barriers such as cost, transport, time, accessibility and stigma," Gatt said.

"Thinkladder allows users to engage in a therapeutic process anywhere at anytime."

Thinkladder, available to download for $5, aims to treat depression and anxiety by using cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). 

CBT is based on the idea that how we think, how we feel and how we act all interact together - so, negative thoughts can cause distress and result in problems. 

Thinkladder works by helping users pinpoint negative beliefs that fuel anxiety or depression.

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It then provides users with "insights", written by New Zealand psychologists, to replace the negative beliefs with alternative positive beliefs. 

These insights are then incorporated into the user's daily rituals by setting up scheduled reminders and location based reminders, so insights are received when users need them most. 

Counsellor Charlotte Cummings, who runs a private counselling practice, said CBT was the most successful form of therapy for anxiety and depression. 

"Thinkladder has brought CBT right into the pocket of every New Zealander - that is incredible," Cummings said. 

Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand chief executive Shaun Robinson said Thinkladder looked like a useful tool and would be beneficial to many users.

"It's fantastic to see New Zealander's using technology and skills to find innovative ways to boost mental health and wellbeing," Robinson said. 

Instagram model Tamsyn Cornwall, who had struggled with anxiety, said mental health services in New Zealand was lacking.

"Counsellors are not always accessible. So having an app you can access on the go is huge in terms of support," Cornwall said.

"It is also a brilliant way to self-help and do your own investigating, perhaps instead of, or before seeking help," she said.

Artist Lizzie Snow said she had dealt with anxiety and depression and being able to talk about it and not feel ashamed was important. 

"The ladder is the perfect metaphor - it shows that mental health is a journey, one that consists of many interconnected steps and once you start climbing you can reach new heights," Snow said. 

 - Stuff

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