Staff Well-being Project Reveals C E S Reduces Anxiety And Stress In Teachers

 Staff Well-Being Project Reveals CES Reduces Anxiety and Stress in Teachers


Stress has become endemic amongst staff in schools and academies, prompting Leigh Academies Trust in Dartford to explore an innovative solution of using Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation (CES). The study found that “participants had better post-treatment sleep quality” and the changes were so impressive, the Trust invested in their own units so staff can access them when needed.


Neil Willis, Deputy Chief Executive, and HR Director Richard Taylor, at the Leigh Academies Trust in Dartford, in conjunction with one of their Educational Psychologist’s, Jo Buttle, have explored an innovative approach to the problem of stress. They set up a project to explore the potential use of Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulation technology in supporting staff well-being.

The project involved using this form of treatment to see if it reduced symptoms of anxiety, depression and sleep difficulties amongst staff. 21 staff used the device daily for between 20 and 60 minutes, over a period of 4 weeks. A number of pre and post measurements were taken to monitor changes in anxiety, depression, sleep and general welfare. Staff at the University of Greenwich kindly carried out the statistical analysis of the results.

Richard Taylor, HR Director of Leigh Academies Trust commented, "As a Trust, we recognise that at times the challenges that teachers face in both school and home can lead to the onset of mental health problems.  Leigh Academies Trust believes that teacher wellbeing is one of the most important issues currently in education and, as a result, we have been exploring ways to help teachers maintain positive mental health.

In addition to mindfulness sessions and examining the workload challenge we have been trialling the use of cranial electrotherapy stimulation to help reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety as well as help with sleep disorders.  As part of the trial we administered, in partnership with our educational psychologists, several controlled trials to see if the impact would justify a wider rollout.

The results from these trials were extremely encouraging and we saw a positive impact on the quality of life scores for nearly all those using the device. In light of the results, we are now rolling the scheme out so that it is available to all staff in the Trust. Whilst this is not the sole solution to improve teacher wellbeing it is a fantastic tool to help staff maintain positive mental health." 

Jo Buttle, Educational Psychologist said, “It has been great to work with the Trust in supporting staff well-being. The Trust’s dynamic and forward thinking approach enabled us to adopt a creative strategy in helping reduce the symptoms of anxiety, depression and sleep difficulties amongst staff. The results are excellent and suggest this is something schools and academies should consider as part of their staff support strategy.”

The changes, shown below, were very impressive, so much so the Trust has now invested in their own units so that the staff can access them as and when needed.

The study found that “participants had better post-treatment sleep quality”. “Scores on the BDI [Beck’s Depression Inventory*] tended to also display a better quality of life in terms of improved sleeping patterns...and improved appetite”. “In addition, panic feelings significantly reduced from pre- ... to post-treatment.” “Overall, as can be seen from the results ...the pilot was highly successful.”

To determine whether the system was having a positive influence, the staff completed four scales:
•    The Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction Questionnaire-Short Form (Q-LES-Q-SF); Bourion-Bédès et al., 2015
•    The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI); Buysse, 1989
•    Beck's Depression Inventory (BDI); Beck et al., 1961
•    Beck's Anxiety Inventory (BAI); Beck & Steer, 1993

Using Q-LES-Q-SF scores, where higher scores on the scale indicate greater satisfaction, the mean scores improved from 3.3 to 3.7; a statistically significant difference in the positive direction.

Using PSQI scores, where higher scores indicate worse sleep quality, following the treatment, mean scores had decreased from 1.28 to 0.76. This difference was statistically significant in the positive direction, which means that participants had better post-treatment sleep quality.

Scores on the BDI tended to also display a better quality of life in terms of improved sleeping patterns and improved appetite.

There are four sub-scales on the BAI scale. In terms of neurophysiological symptoms, mean scores of 0.43 pre-treatment and 0.34 post-treatment were not significantly different; however, subjective feelings of anxiety significantly changed between pre-treatment, 1.05, and post-treatment, 0.55. In addition, panic feelings significantly reduced from a pre-treatment mean of 0.46, to post-treatment mean of 0.25, whilst autonomic symptoms significantly reduced from a mean pre-treatment score of 0.94, to 0.52 post-treatment.

The portable cranial electrotherapy stimulation device transmits tiny imperceptible microcurrents via ear-clips. It works by stimulating nerve cells in the brain stem, activating the pathways that generate increased levels of serotonin and endorphins. Its positive effects are also cumulative, suggesting that it may bring about a permanent positive change in our neurological make-up. It also encourages the production of alpha waves in the brain, which is a calming, soothing wave.

This form of treatment has numerous clinical studies behind it and after a 120 patient NHS trial that started in September last year is now being used by IAPT services to help treat patients with anxiety disorders [2].

The Alpha-Stim AID retails for £549 or is available on a buy-to-rent scheme from £51 a month. For more information please visit www.alpha-stim.co.uk or call 01487 208041. Schools and academies interested in running a trial or wishing to find out more about supporting staff using the Alpha-Stim please visit www.ieps kent.co.uk or call 01732 770031

 



The Alpha-Stim® has FDA approval and is a class 11a medical device, approved for the treatment of anxiety, depression , insomnia and pain.

*Beck’s Depression Inventory (BDI;Beck et al.,1961) which takes into account the following states: No change in sleeping pattern, Sleep somewhat more than usual, Sleep somewhat less than usual, Sleep a lot more than usual, Sleep a lot less than usual, Sleep most of the day, Wake up 1-2 hours early and can't get back to sleep.

References
[1] Jo-Anne Buttle, Dr Josh P Davis, BSc, MSC, PhD, (Reader in Applied Psychology), Dr Sarah O'Toole (Lecturer in Psychology), Diandra Bretfelean (Research Assistant), ‘Alpha-Stim Project’, University of Greenwich, January 2nd 2017.

[2] Professor Richard Morriss, University of Nottingham, ‘Clinical and cost effectiveness of Alpha-Stim AID Cranial Electrotherapy Stimulations (CES); a naturalistic study in patients with a primary working diagnosis of moderate-to-severe generalised anxiety disorder who did not improve with low intensity psychological therapy intervention’, September 2016.

Spokespeople for Alpha-Stim


Jo-Anne Buttle – Chartered Educational Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Director at IEPS (Kent) Ltd (wwww.iepskent.co.uk).

Dr. Lesley Parkinson – Consultant, Clinical-Psychologist, Specialist in Neuropsycho-Physiology
Possibly the UK’s most experienced consultant clinical-psychologist in BioFeedback, Neurofeedback, Hemoencephalography and quantitative electro-encephalographic assessment (qEEG) and brain health.

Richard Morriss, Professor of Psychiatry at Nottingham University
Professor Richard Morriss is a Consultant in General Adult and Community Psychiatry with Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust and Professor of Psychiatry and Community Mental Health at the University of Nottingham. He trained in psychiatry in Leeds, Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore United States, Oxford and Manchester. He has a MD from University of Leeds.

Professor Morriss has clinical interests in mood disorders, somatization and primary care psychiatry. His research interests are in the management of bipolar affective disorder, depression and medically unexplained symptoms in primary and secondary care settings. He was a member of the NICE Guideline Development Group (GDG) for Bipolar Disorder and is currently a member of the NICE mental health panel.

Further Information

For more information, interview requests, case studies and images call Ian and Jenny Liddle, Excellart, on: 01761 413 022   email:  info@excellart.co.uk, Website: www.excellart.co.uk


Mental health and Sleep Improved with Cranial Electrotherapy Treatment


Working in a busy secondary school, Sarah found at times she was waking up in the night worrying about things that she needed to do. Then she took part in a trial of a unique cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device and now has a much improved quality of sleep, her quality of life has improved and she’s even decided to buy the unit! Here she tells her story...


Sarah, age 51, is married with one daughter age 21, and lives near Dartford, Kent. She works in Pastoral Support which involves providing emotional support and safeguarding work within the school, within the Leigh Academies Trust in Dartford.

“A lot of my work is with students with anxiety. My job is quite pressured – it’s fairly constant from the minute I walk in the door to walking out of the Academy to go home. My work also includes child protection issues. Working full time with a family, I was getting to the stage where I was waking up at 3 am in the morning and thinking of things like how I must remember to send that important email.

So I was very open to volunteer for a trial run of the CES devices by Educational Psychologist, Jo Buttle. I used it to help with my mental wellbeing and to help me relax. I thought in the long-term it could also be useful for the students I work with.”

Mental health wellbeing is being seen as an increasingly important issue in schools. Neil Willis, Deputy Chief Executive, and HR Director Richard Taylor, at the Leigh Academies Trust in Dartford, in conjunction with one of their Educational Psychologist’s, Jo Buttle, have explored an innovative approach to this problem. They set up a project to explore the potential use of this technology in supporting staff well-being. The project involved using a portable electronic devices to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and sleep difficulties amongst staff. 21 staff used the device daily, for between 20 and 60 minutes, for a period of 4 weeks. A number of pre and post measurements were taken to monitor changes in anxiety, depression, sleep and general welfare. Staff at the University of Greenwich kindly carried out the statistical analysis of the results. [1]

Sarah continues, “I used CES for a few weeks and the effects got better as each week went by. I spent 20 minutes a day on it. The biggest thing for me was the fact that my quality of sleep improved, so I felt calm and refreshed the next day and able to face the day; all the benefits that a good night’s sleep brings. I have continuative sleep, where I wake up more refreshed than previously. Now I’m managing to get my life –work balance a little bit better.

It’s comfortable to use and I’ve not experienced any side effects. I use it when I watch TV, sitting down and relaxing, so I can fit it in with whatever is going on in the day. This technology has become a part of my daily routine – once a day and for about 20 minutes.

It’s been so good for me that I decided to buy it at the end of the trial. I use it as and when I need it. You don’t realise how much it helps you until you stop using it.”

The Alpha-Stim AID retails for £549 or is available on a buy-to-rent scheme from £51 a month. For more information please visit www.alpha-stim.co.uk or call 01487 208041. Schools and academies interested in running a trial or wishing to find out more about supporting staff using the Alpha-Stim please visit www.ieps kent.co.uk or call 01732 770031

References
[1] Jo-Anne Buttle, Dr Josh P Davis, BSc, MSC, PhD, (Reader in Applied Psychology), Dr Sarah O'Toole (Lecturer in Psychology), Diandra Bretfelean (Research Assistant), ‘Alpha-Stim Project’, University of Greenwich, January 2nd 2017.

     
   
   
 
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