Thomas is in his early twenties and in the last year of a five year Masters in Industrial Engineering and Management at the University of Lund. He's a calm, confident, intelligent young man who enjoys hanging out with his friends and girlfriend, and doing leather work in his spare time.
As part of his Industrial Management course, Thomas completed a series of assessments and questionnaires, provided by My-E-Health. All the students were given the opportunity to take part in these assessments, which included a feedback session and a checkup each quarter, with the aim of improving mental and physical health, as well as highlighting any potential issues.
On the surface, there was nothing to indicate that Thomas wasn't coping, or that his mental health was suffering; nothing to alert his family and friends to the fact that he might need help. In fact, even Thomas wasn't really sure what help he might need, until he completed the assessments and the results were there in black and white. The stark reality of his mental and physical health; “at risk of burnout”.
“I filled in the assessments and then had feedback with Clive. He went over all my answers and showed me where I was on the scale of burnout, motivation and some other aspects. It highlighted what I guess, in some ways, I already knew”.
Although Thomas had been feeling this way for a while, he hadn't been able to see how it could get any better.
“I'd been very stressed and felt like I wanted to go to therapy, but hadn't really felt like I had an actual reason to do it. I didn't feel like it was severe enough to go through the health care system and get it for free, and I wasn't sure I had big enough issues to spend thousands going to a private therapist. But I definitely wanted to fix it”.
Thomas was stuck. But he carried on. And had it not been for the intervention of My-E-Health, he would've carried on until “at risk” became “burned out”.
Clive felt like Thomas would benefit from some therapy, and he agreed. They met online, twice a week for just over a month.
“Before the sessions I would do floating - a sensory deprivation thing - it's an hour in complete darkness and you just kind of empty your mind. I found it very relaxing. There's no perception of time and you just lay there. I really wanted to see if I could just turn off everything and not think. And it must've worked because the first time, I fell asleep”.
After the floating, Clive and Thomas talked and Clive shared some simple tools that Thomas could use when he was feeling stressed or anxious.
“When I start to have negative thoughts, I use the five second rule. I pause for five seconds, take some breaths, keep breathing and try to re-frame the situation in my head. It really helps”.
Through the therapy sessions, Thomas also saw some things in himself that he hadn't realized before.
“I figured out I was overly aware of how other people look at me. I would think that people were looking at me, even though rationally I know no one really cares what I'm doing, I was still very self-conscious”.
With the right tools and support, Thomas began to start thinking in new ways and view situations differently.
“Just figuring out, through the therapy, that nobody actually cares, and remembering this outside the therapy, was so valuable to me. It's made me more relaxed and more at peace with myself. I know I can just be myself now because I like myself as a person, so why wouldn't other people? And if they don't, then who cares”.
Thomas had never had any sort of therapy before his connection with My-E-Health, but having it made available to him, through his studies, has proved invaluable. Like many people feeling the same as Thomas, he thought his problems weren't severe enough to seek help, so when the help was offered, he grabbed it with both hands.
“For me, it was just being able to do it, to empower myself to improve my work and my life, it was so important. It's made me realize that I'm very early on in my life and that I can go wherever I want to”.