Role of Technology in Mental Health Awareness

 

Mental health has always been a taboo topic. Although because of the education, awareness, celebrities, and other social reforms the stigma is reducing. Mental health disorders are amongst the leading causes of worldwide illness, but whilst treatment and resources are available, people often do not receive them. According to some sources, nearly two-third of all people with mental health disorders never seek help. This can be for many reasons. People might not recognize they have a condition or avoid coming to terms with it. Whilst the negative stigma attached to seeking help for mental or psychological issues usually makes people nervous to seek and ask for help or in many situations they simply do not know where and from whom to find support. Not only that, but some major barriers prevent people from accessing professional care. This makes it difficult to know how to track and manage their psychological well being, which can make things worse.

In our ever-changing world, the use of technology is continuously expanding. It influences all the domains of our lives, starting from our ability to communicate with other people, to accessing information in just one click. Unfortunately, we have also seen a number of negative effects of technology on mental health as well. Where teenagers are getting diagnosed with clinical addiction, inappropriate use of social media etc. 

In the year 2020, the world got hit by the pandemic. The lockdown has taken a major toll on many people’s lives. A significant number of people lost their jobs, some were dealing with major health issues due to COVID, some were grieving with the loss of their loved once. The situation was indeed difficult for all of us as no one had imagined this drastic turn that our lives will take. All of us saw in the news how the medical professional was working day and night to help the people in need. There were many organisations and mental health professionals who had started giving free counselling sessions for people. This particular reform, of the mental health profession reaching to people from all over the country could happen because of the technology. 

I remember talking to a colleague of mine, spending almost 5 hours of her day to get in touch with people from a small village in Maharashtra. Where she would help many youths to deal with their anxieties and other problems. As the COVID situation was at its peak, taking offline one to one session was not possible at all. But these online sessions were indeed a great help. 

Today many of us can easily note down the unhealthy consequences of social media, and technology in general, but we also need to be grateful for this invention as this technology could give up a ray of sanity during the most different and difficult part of our lives! 

Most importantly technology provides different types of tools that shall help many manage important day to day tasks that help people improve and sustain their mental health. There are digital resources available to people who have not yet seen a mental health professional or don’t know where to go.

  1. BetterHelp provides online access to licensed, trained, and experienced counselling professionals including:
  2. MyPsychTES is an example of an online website platform that utilizes technology for these very purposes. Not only does the system connect patients to therapists and counsellors, but it also uses smartphone apps to track emotions and lifestyle, providing real-time data, automated communication tools, and alerts.

There are tools available to reduce negative feelings and restore mindfulness. Following in the list of such applications one can make use of- 

  1. MoodKit
  2. MindShift CBT
  3. Self-help for Anxiety Management (SAM)
  4. CBT Thought Diary
  5. Happify: for Stress & Worry
  6. MoodTools – Depression Aid
  7. Headspace Meditation & Sleep
  8. Ten Percent Happier Meditation
  9. Moodpath: Depression & Anxiety
  10. Daylio Journa

These apps have many functionalities for users to choose what fits best. Activities help users relax, sleep better, and recognize and manage negative thinking patterns.

Some include professional coaching and options to speak with a licensed clinician. While these apps can’t provide diagnosis or prescription options, they offer natural means of managing struggles.

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