Ipswich nurse helps to create new online tool to help those with multiple sclerosis

Ipswich nurse Hollie Bamford was part of the team that created the new tool Picture: East Suffolk &

Ipswich nurse Hollie Bamford was part of the team that created the new tool Picture: East Suffolk & North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, Ipswich Hospital/ Getty Images - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A new digital self-help tool to help people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) has been created with the help of an Ipswich nurse.

MS is a lifelong condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord, leaving patients struggling to move or causing vision problems.

It’s thought that there are around 130,000 people living with the condition in the UK.

The condition can also have an impact on mental health with a recent survey published by the MS Trust revealing that 72% of people living with the condition having felt anxious or depressed for more than several days a month.

The new tool, called ACT MySelf, is free and can be accessed through your internet browser.

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Those behind the project believe the tool can help provide extra support to those living with the condition particularly given the general rise in anxiety since the coronavirus lockdown and the increased pressure on healthcare professionals due to the pandemic.

The tool will also help MS nurses as well as neurologists and mental health services.

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ACT MySelf guides people through exercises based on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), a psychological therapy that is used in the management of conditions such as anxiety, depression and pain, and which has been shown to benefit people living with MS.

The tool helps people to learn strategies to live life more in the present, with more focus on what’s important to them and less focus on painful thoughts, feelings and experiences.

Hollie Bamford, a clinical MS nurse specialist at Ipswich Hospital was part of the team who helped to develop the tool.

“Emotions vary from person to person,” said Miss Bamford.

“There is no right or wrong way for how someone will react to living with MS, each consultation is different.

“A tool such as ACT MySelf, which helps to support the emotional wellbeing of people with MS on an individual level has the potential to provide enormous value in day to day practice.”

“There is a huge lack of specialist psychological support for people with MS, and so a website like ACT MySelf can play a big part in giving people struggling with their mental health the tools they need to cope,” said Claire WInchester, head of information and engagement at the MS Trust.

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