Liferaft Blog

Back To School – Top 10 Tips for Parents!

MyLiferaft - Caring Support Tool - Back to School


If you’ve read the ‘About Us’ section on the Liferaft website, you will see that several of our team are parents and like you, are spending the last few weeks of the precious summer holidays having their children’s feet measured for new school shoes, hunting down that elusive last piece of uniform and hurriedly filling pencil cases and rucksacks.

Starting school for the first time, moving into a new class, transitioning from primary school to secondary, or secondary school to higher education is a scary and stressful time for parents and children alike.  Will they find new friends? How will they react to new environments and new levels of authority?

In the Liferaft team, our children are all at different stages within the education system, but we still sit over a cup of coffee having the same worries! All these worries can be multiplied if your child has special educational needs (SEN) or a long-term condition. As parents we want to support them the best way we can and the team here recognise that, so we’ve put together a list of our favourite Top Tips that have helped us and many others along the way. We cannot promise that you won’t need extra tissues on that first day, but hopefully a few of these tips will mean less of those tissues!

  1. Make a big deal out of buying a new lunch box and water bottle. Whether it be a pink, blue or has extra sparkles, if it is dishwasher proof, go with the flow.
  2. Are you able to get your child involved in making the packed lunch the night before so they won’t be shocked or surprised the following day? This will head off any lunchtime traumas and hopefully they will come home with a full tummy and an empty lunch box.
  3. Remember to pack the homework the night before or immediately before you walk out of the door if the homework is done in the morning. You do not want to go to all that effort and then leave it at home.
  4. Work out how much time the whole family needs in the morning. Do you and your partner need to get through the bathroom first? Work backwards from the time you need to be in the car on the way to school allowing 20 minutes each for getting change/teeth brushing etc. and then eating breakfast. Then add another 10 minutes for back-up time in case someone is a little behind that morning.
  5. If the new school requires a new journey by either car or bus, this could cause stress to all involved in the school run, so try and do a couple of ‘dummy runs’ in the weeks leading up to the first day to alleviate any negative feelings.
  6. Your child’s age will direct you to how much sleep they need a night, but those first few weeks at school may mean a slightly earlier bedtime whilst your child gets used to a new school routine.
  7. For children with special educational needs, the school may be able to arrange a visit for you and your child before the start date so that new classrooms etc. have a familiar feel when your child officially starts and you can note any need for specialist equipment or aids.
  8. Even if you take your child into the playground in the mornings, going those final few metres on their own can be daunting. If you know of another child (or parent!) who is also worried, agree to meet up a few minutes early so that the two children can walk in together. So far, one of our children has been walking in with the same friend for two years!
  9. If you have any additional needs or a long-term condition, talk to the university disability advisors and have a student support plan in place.  It’s important to make the university aware of your condition – they will suggest ways they can help.
  10. Email each of lecturers personally, explaining in your own words how your condition may affect their classes and what they can do to help.

 Useful Links for any parent, guardian or family member to bookmark:

 Pinterest – SEN back to school boards

Liferaft back to school resources:

Times Educational Supplement back to school resources for students:

SEN – Free Printables for SEN teachers and support circle:

Read Anna’s testimonial about how Liferaft helped her with her children who both have ongoing medical needs

Try Liferaft for FREE:

If you think that Liferaft could support you and your family, not only in starting or transitioning through school, but in managing other aspects of your life then sign up for a FREE account today.Bottom of Form


Instagram and your mental health

What Your Instagram Posts Could Reveal About Your Mental Health

MyLiferaft - Caring Support Tool - Instagram Blog 

We like to keep you informed about some of the more ‘fringe’ stories that perhaps don’t get the coverage they deserve. One story that seems to have slipped under the mainstream media’s radar is doing the rounds on more ‘in the know’ news outlets and blogs so we thought we’d share this one with you too.

However much we might like to skirt around the issue, we all know that spending too much time on social media can be bad for our mental health. All those #blessed beach yoga photos and pointless Twitter rows have a knack of making you feel worse about yourself and, all too often, humanity itself!

According to a new study, the relationship between our social media activity and mental state works both ways: how often you post on Instagram could be an indication of your mental health issues. Liferaft allows the user to post and share photos and images with family, friends, loved ones and anyone in their care circle – the idea of capturing the moment and sharing things is not new, but apparently how we choose to post and what filters we use on the photos is indicative of the state of our mental health.

Scientists from Harvard and Vermont universities created a computer programme to recognise people with depression by studying the frequency at which they post and the types of images they share. By analysing the Instagram behaviour of people with mental health issues, they identified how people with depression use the app differently.

The study, published in the journal EPJ Data Science, found that users with depression posted more frequently than those without mental health issues and were more inclined to share photos that contained faces, but less likely to use filters.

However, when they did apply filters, the Instagram users with depression also generally shared images with a darker colour scheme and garnered more comments from others on the app.

The system has so far proven more successful at diagnosing depression than doctors. The study of 166 Instagram users and 43,950 photos correctly identified depressed individuals 70% of the time, compared with previous research showing that GPs can do so correctly 42% of the time, EurekAlert reported.

“With an increasing share of our social interactions happening online, the potential for algorithmic identification of early-warning signs for a host of mental and physical illnesses is enormous,” said Dr. Christopher Danforth, co-author of the study from the University of Vermont.

He added that the system could potentially be used by health professionals to identify people at risk of mental illness, reported EurekAlert. “Imagine an app you can install on your phone that pings your doctor for a check-up when your behaviour changes for the worse, potentially before you even realise there is a problem.”

You might not think about the potential health benefits when you upload that shameless selfie to the ‘gram, but the researchers’ algorithm could significantly change the way we diagnose and treat mental health conditions.

Danforth added: “It’s better if we can get somebody who [might] die by suicide in 2018 in front of a psychologist sooner because there’s something about their social media that made it clear to the machine that they needed help and it wasn’t obvious to the people around them.”

Liferaft has a good list of mental health resources for anyone who needs to talk.  Click on for more information.

If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call Mind on 0300 123 3393.



Prevention is better than cure

We created our cutting edge healthcare solution – Liferaft – with you, the user, in mind. When we developed Liferaft we knew how important it would be for people living with or caring for long-term conditions.

Our life course planning tool is centred on the individual, allowing you to receive, capture and manage information about any aspect of your medical nutritional, social or emotional needs, and share it with whomever you choose. This level of granular big data is unprecedented in NHS and social care systems.

The last decade has seen huge advances in the amount of data we routinely generate and collect in pretty much everything we do, as well as our ability to use technology to analyse and understand it.

Healthcare is no different.

Big Data in healthcare is being used to predict epidemics, cure disease, improve quality of life and avoid preventable deaths. With the world’s population increasing and everyone living longer, models of treatment delivery are rapidly changing, and many of the decisions behind those changes are being driven by data.

The drive now is to understand as much about a patient as possible, as early in their life as possible – with the aim of picking up warning signs of serious illness at an early enough stage so that treatment is far more simple (and less expensive) than if it had not been spotted until later.

Smart phones were just the start.

With apps enabling them to be used as everything from pedometers to measure how far you walk in a day, to calorie counters to help you plan your diet, millions of us use mobile technology to help us live healthier lifestyles.

This is where our personal data hub comes into its own.

You can share the data from our online solution with your doctor who can use it as part of their diagnostic toolbox when you visit them with an ailment.

Even if there’s nothing wrong with you, access to the information about the state of your health might allow problems to be spotted before they occur, and remedies – either medicinal or educational – to be prepared in advance, something to be celebrated and communicated in all health and social care communities.

Got questions about how Liferaft works?
Want to know more about our innovative health and social care application?
Why not visit our FAQ page for some answers:

Integrated Healthcare

We like to divide things up.

We like to compartmentalise our day to day ‘pain points’, as we like to think in ‘black and white’.

We draw a straight line on a map between the Atlantic and Indian Ocean while the water remains oblivious. There’s nothing wrong with this approach as it has served to differentiate one thing from another, or helped us to simplify some aspects of our lives.

But we also draw a line between the mental and physical and base our entire system of healthcare on that false polarity.

The problem that people encounter when talking about mental health is that it is still not seen as being equal priority with physical health, something that has been born out in so many news stories, from coast to coast.

The word “holistic” is often associated with scientifically dubious therapy but the science is slowly leading us towards a more holistic view of minds and bodies, so our healthcare needs to acknowledge that. There has been a growing recognition in public life about mental health issues which has gone some way toward removing the stigma. But we must all acknowledge the physical nature of mental illness and the mental nature of physical illness.

A new, more integrated, healthcare system would not only lead us toward a more person-centred care solution, but would help patients and anyone feeling distress to understand that there is no more shame to be felt than if they had tonsillitis.

Illness is illness, and health is health. There can be no “mind over matter” when we understand that mind is matter.

Liferaft has been built to de-stigmatise mental health by placing it on an equal footing with stigma-free physical issues such as asthma and arthritis.

Our application treats all conditions equally, and the many benefits that it affords are ones that fit the needs of each user, whether their issue is a physical, mental or multi-faceted.

We are all about SHARING and our integrated healthcare application enables you to share any information and help to manage your day-to-day life.  Liferaft addresses a clear need in the UK social care space for shared communication and provides a solution for the family and wider circle of care.

Liferaft can be used to record not only health and medical data, but also social, emotional and support care information; it is particularly useful when arranging respite and social care or completing lengthy forms. Furthermore, Liferaft allows people to start well, live well and age well.

To join our growing community, why not sign up and join the growing #liferaft community today?

Wellness – Liferaft Blog

Depending on your modus operandi, wellness might be a term you’ve just stumbled over, or one you have tattooed behind your left ear. According to a recent survey conducted by the UK-based mental health charity Mind, one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem within this year and one in six report experiencing problems such as anxiety and depression in any given week. The idea of taking a break, stepping away from the thrum of everyday life is no longer an indulgence saved for retirement but a necessity.

Wellness is at the heart of the Liferaft application. We realized early in our journey how the idea of positively promoting wellbeing through our application can act as a useful resource and can encourage people to share tips, remedies, ideas and advice in a community that puts wellness first. We are always looking to promote and share content that we find inspirational. One such story that caught out attention was this inspirational teacher who runs a wellness Yoga retreat for cancer patients, having recently been diagnosed with cancer herself. She’s getting guidance and tips from them, too. The students have helped their teacher find her path through the challenges of being a cancer patient.

The class, she said, has helped her clear her body of cancer and keep her energy up

For more information about wellness, and to join our growing community, why not sign up and join the growing #liferaft community today?