In the past three decades, we have seen rapid technological advancements in all types of industries and sectors, including healthcare. That said, how does the latest tech help improve the lives of people with mental illness?
The impact of technology on mental health disorders is significant. Compared to the decades past, today’s technology has provided people with mental health issues more opportunities to connect with the world, seek treatment, and mitigate their symptoms, among many others.
Here are some of the best technological advancements that prove to be beneficial for people living with depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions:
1. Data-sharing for co-responder programs
Co-responder programs require mental health professionals and law enforcement to work together during behavioral health crises. To make correspondence and follow-up easier, co-responder programs are now using data-sharing platforms that allow multiple organizations to share data, update records in real-time, and keep track of individuals–all in a secure platform.
2. Social media
The dawn of social media brings about an efficient and effective way to communicate with the rest of the world. But while it helps us connect with friends, family, and pretty much anyone on the Internet, social media can also create an environment of isolation and toxicity. For people with mental health disorders, this type of environment does more harm than good.
On the other hand, social media also gives people with mental health problems a platform to share their experiences, learn more about their disorders, and find support from people who may or may not share the same struggles. Moreover, social media is a useful tool to pick away at the stigma surrounding mental health disorders. Thus, even though social media may be a double-edged sword, it can have certain benefits for mental health when used right.
3. Mental health applications
During the first few years of the smartphone, app development was focused more on entertainment than anything else. Today, there seems to be an app for everything–including healthcare needs.
If you were to look for an app that is designed to help with a certain condition, such as depression or anxiety, you would likely see thousands of options. Some functions of these mental health apps include mood tracking, symptom management, medication management, among many others. While these apps cannot be used as a substitute for professional treatment, they are excellent supplements to it.
4. Online therapy
For individuals who cannot find a suitable mental health professional in their area, are afraid of going to face-to-face therapy, or simply cannot afford it, online therapy is available and accessible. Through online therapy services, people can speak with a professional therapist through video chats, calls, or text messages for a monthly fee, which may be cheaper than in-person therapy.
5. Mental health screening
Many medical websites offer mental health screening online, which takes the form of medically-backed assessment quizzes that can tell if you may be depressed. These assessments are free, confrontational, anonymous, and yield instant results, which makes it easier for people to become self-aware about their mental health and take action.
As technology continues to develop, more and more people are becoming aware of the importance of mental health. And for individuals who are living with mental health disorders, new technology is proving to be highly beneficial for diagnosis, treatment, and management, which makes it easier to attain a higher quality of life.