Cerina is an app founded on the principles of empathy and efficiency, two words that you rarely see go hand in hand. A medical-grade evidence-based digital therapist application providing disorder-specific psychological support through an interactive interface, Cerina works to provide mental health support where conventional routes fail to deliver. It distinguishes itself from the oversaturated market of technological wellbeing services through its personalised treatment programme.
Anyone familiar with the mental health services will know how frustrating it is being sent in circles trying to access the substantial and effective support we all deserve. Cerina wants to provide a solution to this inaccessibility, providing users with a compassionate and evidence-based support programme accessible 24/7 that adheres to The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) ethical practice guidelines. A therapist in your pocket, whenever you need it, tailored to your personal needs. No more waiting lists, no more compromising your finances to jump to the front of the queue. The team behind Cerina know first-hand that your mental wellbeing is something that should be prioritised and protected whenever necessary, not just when you can be fit in.
The brainchild of Prasannajeet Mane, Cerina emerged from the CEO’s personal struggles with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Mane comes from a small village in Western India, and describes his upbringing as challenging, losing his father at just 14 years old. He started to develop severe symptoms of OCD during his undergraduate studies, leading to multiple suicide attempts. He was eventually diagnosed with OCD in early 2013 and describes his diagnosis and treatment as life-changing, altering the way he thought, behaved and learned for the better.
Mane’s own positive experience with treatment provoked a budding interest in mental health and psychology, which led him to take mental health elective courses and study brain and behavioural patterns. As his awareness of psychology behind mental health deepened, he expanded his interest into the commercial mental health space, identifying what was on offer and what gaps existed in the market. Whilst there are a lot of digital support systems out there, most tend to be focused on general wellness and lack in depth and clinically vigorous elements.
With the UK’s supply and demand ratio in regards to mental health support being devastatingly disproportionate, accessibility to engaging, interactive and humanised therapy is something that Cerina want to affordably provide. Cerina differentiates itself from other products within its market by not sacrificing one feature to amplify another. It aims to provide a personalised treatment programme offering the regulatory breathing exercises of its competitors in the same breath that it integrates Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) frameworks used in traditional therapy. The product is in the process of obtaining a medical-grade status to distinguish it as serving a medical purpose rather than simply being an app playing into the current trend of ‘self-care’, because Cerina believe in long-term and fundamental change. We also understand that mental health support is not one-size-fits-all, which is why we provide disorder-specific support for those seeking help with OCD, depression and anxiety, as opposed to general wellbeing and coaching with no particular focus. OCD is just one of many mental health conditions that Cerina focuses on, but in light of COVID-19 it is particularly interesting to reflect upon.
The pandemic has no doubt had an impact on the mental health of society at large, with restrictions behind placed on our social interactions, and general habits and conventions we had accepted as the norm being taken away to protect the health of the global population. Consequences such as these seem to naturally link to disorders like anxiety and depression, but perhaps most specific to COVID-19, and yet least publicly discussed, is how the hyper-focus on health, hygiene and sanitation has the potential to influence a spike in OCD tendencies. Mental health digital support in the mainstream tends to focus on low or anxious mood, so against the landscape of Coronavirus, Cerina stands out in its ability to provide support programs for those who may have an increased sensitivity to contamination. With social distancing guidelines meaning that even in-person therapy is currently taking place remotely, the multidimensionality of Cerina and the merits it can offer where conventional routes fail no longer seem substandard given how much we have had to rely on technology to function, and how successful we have all been in doing so.As we gradually ease COVID restrictions and return to some form of normality, it is so vital that we focus on our mental wellbeing and pay attention to the long-term mental impacts and collective traumas that the pandemic has brought upon us. Cerina want to use digital integration to support this process, and will soon be fully equipped to provide the wide variety of support different individuals may need.