Entrepreneur Joel Muise’s struggles with mental illness motivated him to found his startup, Tranquility Online. Now Muise is seeking participants to test his online service for treating anxiety.Muise is looking for 48 people who suffer from anxiety to help him test whether cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) delivered online by a team of coaches is effective.

Muise wants to use coaches rather than therapists because he believes coaches can be trained to help clients. Using coaches rather than therapists, as some similar sites do, will make the service more affordable.

“Our program is based on CBT, which follows a simple, repetitive way of tackling anxiety and depression,” he said.

“The challenge is getting people from the starting line to the finish line. There are lots of CBT books and apps but most people don’t finish. Our coaches will be trained in motivational interviewing and active listening to get clients to the finish line.”

Muise established his online CBT business after a blog post, written in February 2015 about his struggle with generalized anxiety disorder and depression attracted attention. He realized there were many sufferers in need of help.

“I’d always been a supporter of ending the stigma around mental health,” he said. “I’d always been open about my struggles but I’d never shared the entire story.

“I thought, if I lay it out there people may judge me but at least I’ll be free from that burden . . . of wearing a mask. Analytics for the site told me that almost 4,000 people visited the post within 48 hours. The post got shared 63 times on Facebook.”

Following the post he took a health coaching course and the idea for Tranquility began to form.

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