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Beanbag Health is (on) Full of Beans

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Lindsey was recently featured on Full of Beans, an eating disorder awareness podcast. She and host Han discuss the upcoming release of the Beanbag Health app.



Beanbag Health is the digital app for eating, exercise, and body image issues. It uses the most evidence-based therapy—Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Enhanced for Eating Disorders (CBTe). The founders’ goal is to expand access to treatment of people with eating, exercise, and body image issues as well as make it more approachable and easy to fit into your life.


Currently, there are not enough practitioners in the NHS for everyone who needs care to get it, so there is an extensive waitlist. With this app, people have access to CBTe at their fingertips with none of the attached pressure, judgement, or requirements that may surface in person.


Beanbag was built based on lived experience; both of our founders have experience with eating and mental health issues. Lindsey has had her own struggles with disordered eating, and Simon’s kids have struggled with mental health. Both are very passionate about the app’s cause. They landed on a CBTe-informed app because it is the most evidence-based treatment in the UK.


We hope for our app to provide treatment on three levels. The first is to help those on the waitlist to get to the point where they no longer need to be on the waitlist. Second, it can be an alternative form of treatment that people can turn to other than the NHS. Third, because people rarely get the psychological help they need in addition to the physical help they receive at inpatient hospitals, Beanbag can help with Step Down care by reinforcing shifts in thought and behaviour patterns.


Behind the app, there is a board of clinicians that help advise the app’s functionality. In the app, you will find that weight logging is optional, meal logging is simplified, and educational information is readily available. The program is designed like a course and contains activities to make it self-reflective.


For example, we know that the idea of meal logging is intimidating. We chose to keep it in the app because the evidence says that tracking meals in the moment helps you understand your patterns, which can help you notice which contexts trigger certain eating disorder behaviours or feelings of distress. The end goal is to establish regular eating patterns and decrease unhealthy behaviours over time. To make meal logging as simple as possible, you only have to indicate what meal you ate (breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a snack). There is also an optional box where you can add whatever details you’d like. The main things you have to input are what behaviours, distress levels, and emotions you experience in this context.


With Beanbag Health, we want to create a safe and comfortable environment for you. In fact, the name “Beanbag” comes from our mission to emphasise that this app is an approachable, unintimidating space, contrary to the cold, pressurising therapist’s couch. Anyone can use our app, at any point in their recovery journey. We hope Beanbag will help pave the way for more comprehensive and accessible mental health services.


You can listen to the whole podcast here.


 

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Written by

Zoe Trevithick

Zoe is an intern at Beanbag Health. She is a sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, majoring in Cognitive Science. Zoe is excited to be working at Beanbag Health and is passionate about its cause of making eating disorder and negative body image recovery easy and available. She is eager to see a world where mental health disorders are no longer stigmatized, and where anyone who needs care is be able to access it.

Clinically Reviewed By:

Iain Jordan

Iain is a consultant psychiatrist with postgraduate training in medicine, psychiatry, complexity science, and healthcare informatics. He's fascinated by the relationship between physical health and mental health and has extensive experience with eating disorder patients in inpatient settings. He's an honorary senior clinical lecturer at University of Oxford. His passion is making psychological strategies for recovery available to all.

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