According to WHO (world health organization), mental health issues are affecting a great number of people. It is estimated that around 260 million people are suffering from anxiety disorders while another 300 million people are suffering from depression. The reality is that researchers have not yet developed a drug that will fix mental health issues for a long time now. However, technology advancement is assisting patients to deal with mental health issues by easily connecting them with their therapist, tracking moods, getting diagnosed, help the stick to treatments, and in managing & mitigating symptoms. Here are some of the ways in which technology is helping people deal with mental health issues;
Development of APPS for everything from PTSD to addiction
Technology advancement has brought about the development of apps for users with specific conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia. These apps are designed to manage symptoms, track thoughts and moods or even help one be able to stick to their treatment plan. There are other apps designed to in memory improvement, enhancing thinking skills, helping in stress management, and many more. There are also apps designed to help people who have an addiction, eating disorders, PTSD, and many more. This mental health-apps come with lots of benefits. They are affordable, convenient for users, and will not expose the user at all.
One-on-One therapy through video and text.
Technology advancement has enabled mobile therapy to be efficient. It really helps those who may not have the time and resources for in-person appointments or those afraid of the stigma associated with the process. Technology has enabled platforms to allow users to connect with their therapists through video or voice on a phone or a computer. Others allow patients to send unlimited messages through their phones to their therapist at any time of the day at a flat fee monthly.
Behaviour trackers that will assist one in discovering an underlying medical condition.
While there are apps that are made to deliver outcomes like reducing anxiety or an improved mood, researchers are continuously working to develop mobile technology to easily detect episodes of burgeoning manic, suicidal inclinations, and even depressive episodes before they fully develop. An app that will monitor the user’s smartphone behaviour will surely require the consent of the user. For instance, if the user begins typing more quickly than usual, their syntax changes, or if the user indulges in impulsive shopping sprees, that could be a sign that they are manic. If someone is not responding to a text from friends and family, then this could be a sign of depression. All the data collected could help describe a personalized mental health map. This will be great for users and their loved ones in mitigating any crisis about to happen through preventative treatment.
Smart software that finds at-risk patients in medical records.
There are insurance companies that are now using cloud-based software platforms to cross-check the electronic medical records and their insurance claims information to pinpoint those at the risk of developing mental health conditions such as depression. This helps as they can then connect these individuals to the appropriate treatments via a network of behavioural health specialists.
Additionally to treating PTSD with exercise, medication, and therapy, there are physicians who make use of a technique known as exposure therapy. It is designed to help patients be able to recover from trauma-related situations in a safe, controlled environment like a doctor’s office. This helps those suffering from these conditions not to trigger those flashbacks and reduce anxiety.
A Google Screening That Lets You Know if you’re depressed.
Google is currently working together with NAMI (national alliance on mental illness). This is a national grassroots mental health advocacy group that is helping offer a mental health screening questionnaire to residents of the United States who try searching for the word depression on their mobile phones. The main result here is a box known as “knowledge panel” which consists of information regarding depression, its signs and symptoms, and the right treatments. For one to check if they are suffering from depression, there is a click the option to “check if one is clinically depressed” to be able to take a confidential quiz which is medical, and will help with this assessment.