Michele FitzpatrickBSc (Hons), MSc, PGCertSE (open)
Michele has been a specialist academic study skills tutor and specialist mentor for Higher Education university students since 2011 and feels privileged to have worked with many students over the years. She is also the founder of Access your Ability, an agency that provides Non-Medical Help (NMH) student support services to students in HE. Michele's words express the relevance of the support system "Today I appreciate the real difference that support can make; as a student myself, I was labelled as 'failing' and having 'a low academic ceiling'. I went on to achieve 'A' grades for the first time following being provided with support in further education. The strategies to focus on my strengths and the 'tools' to overcome the difficulties that my tutor helped me develop during the support played a key role during my studies and getting me to where I am today".
Professor Derek M PetersBSc (Hons) PhD FBASES, FECSS, FHEA, NTF
Derek is an internationally renowned interdisciplinary researcher and educator across the disciplines of sport, health and exercise science. During his 30-year academic career, he held two Professorial positions, received professional body fellowships for his outstanding contributions to research and education from the European College of Sport Science, the British Association of Sport & Exercise Sciences, and the Association of National Teaching Fellows. He has also published and presented scientific studies widely around the world. He is also a trustee of two UK charities focusing on increasing physical activity for health & wellbeing benefits.
"I have experienced my own significant mental health challenges throughout my education, my working, and my private life. Therefore, the creation from an initial idea of [email protected] and the anticipated suite of A-m8 mental health management system apps has been a highly personally relevant journey for me. I bring this esteemed wealth of interdisciplinary academic research ability and my personal experiences of living with mental health to the team".
Brett GriffithsMSc, MBA
Brett is a lean specialist with a background in manufacturing and software development. He has many years of experience in developing systems for companies globally and is passionate about changing the way people work through streamlined systems. He is also the founder of Lean Transition Solutions Ltd and has offices in India with representation in Germany, Dubai, Jordan and now in Brazil. He has developed many applications related to the mental health arena (MU "Mentor You", a mentoring app, and "OK to Say", a reporting app for students) and has worked globally with small and large companies crossing different cultures and boundaries.
His words mark his passion for people development and mental health, "I believe in People Development, Lean process and Innovation / Technology. This combination is an excellent recipe for success in many business ventures. I am passionate about mental health and seek new ways to help combat it’s effects and impact on people".
The Story Behind A-m8
In 2018, Michele's mum, one of the mentally strongest people she knows, tried to end her life after falling into a deep depression following her husband (who was suffering from Parkinson's disease and dementia) having to go into care. After a period in intensive care, her mum was moved to a Psychiatric Unit, where Michele spent time with her during her three-month stay. During this time, while witnessing the consistent stream of patients from all walks of life coming into the unit, the sad reality hit Michele; how 'poorly' people can become when they are mentally unwell, how it can be no less devastating than any other serious illness, and how we often don't know how poorly someone is until something major happens. Michele and her family hadn't seen how unwell her mum was. Their mother didn't show any signs of distress to her family as she didn't want them to worry about her. She became so unwell and didn't even realise the extent of how ill she was. Looking back, mental illness appears to be a very lonely suffering.
As Michele’s mum was planning to return home, a discussion between the Unit's outstanding NHS (staff) and Michele's family about how to recognise when their mother was becoming poorly again so that interventions could be put in place before things deteriorated too far. This is quite challenging for both the individual and those near to them. It's difficult to tell when things are changing or to what extent they are changing. It can also be challenging to reach out for help when you are unwell.
It was from this, the initial idea for A-m8 came. Our phones will have the best insight into what is normal for us and help us to see when it starts to change. By tagging the key indicators that might be signs that our mental health is changing and by saying at what point the change occurs from the person's normal (for Michele's mum, her sleep patterns started to change, and she stopped leaving the house), can help them determine the intensity of a decline. An intervention could be made at an earlier point to prevent the decline.