Greater Manchester

Brain in Hand

We constantly make decisions in our life, we try to behave appropriately in a given situation and we (mostly) control our emotions. But if you have autism, certain mental health conditions, learning difficulties or brain injury you may need help dealing with everyday situations, let alone unfamiliar occurrences or minor emergencies. This can generate anxiety and feelings of being unsafe which can quickly escalate into a crisis and ultimately result in a lack of independence.

Wouldn’t it be great if support was available to navigate daily life via a smartphone, like having another brain in the palm of your hand?

Brain in Hand is an award-winning system that was developed by Dr Tony Brown, the Clinical Director of the Southampton Autism Diagnostic Research Centre. There are three elements:

  1. Set-up: A trainer helps to set-up the app and website to the user’s needs; identifying practical solutions to overcome everyday challenges and achieve their goals.
  2. Self-management: Using the app, users can quickly find their best coping strategies for issues causing problems, maintain a diary routine and receive reminder prompts for things they need to remember and are able to monitor their anxiety.
  3. Ongoing support: A team of professionals keep an eye on the anxiety monitor, getting in touch when needed, by text or a call, to solve problems that initially the user can’t fix themselves.

The app is helping reduce anxiety and improve independence for almost two thousand people in health & social care and education across the UK and also reducing demand on carers and support services. For example, the child and adolescent mental health support team at Surrey & Borders Partnerships NHS Foundation Trust and local schools are referring individuals for Brain in Hand as a form of prevention and early intervention.

Brain in Hand is also one of the interventions mentioned by NHS England in its guide for GP practice staff on how to support those with autism.

Brain in Hand is one of  four innovative companies selected to help improve care in the NHS as part of the Greater Manchester Digital Health Accelerator.

Health Innovation Manchester’s digital health accelerator team is working with Greater Manchester Combined Authority and our Mental Health Trusts over the next 12 months to understand whether citizens in our region could potentially benefit from Brain in Hand.