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3 Ways Technology Is Helping Improve Mental Health

Science fiction has long touted that technology is the key to improving human existence. Many fantastical visions focus on enhancing healthcare with high-tech solutions. Popular ideas include holographic doctors programmed with the accumulated medical knowledge of the centuries and stand-alone robotic stations that can perform complex surgical procedures without human assistance. Of course, countless medical tests, procedures, and equipment types already make use of advanced technology. But tech used in daily life by the average person is also making inroads to improving mental health. Personal computers and software, the Internet, smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps are producing beneficial results in many ways.

Mental Illness Preventative Measures

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately half of teens ages 13 to 18 suffer from a mental health condition[1]. In light of this, concerned and innovative developers are seeking to combine teens’ love for technology with the need for detection and prevention of mental illnesses. One way to accomplish this is to give adolescents tools and strategies to care for their mental health. By empowering individuals in this way, they can understand the key factors that contribute to their own psychological makeup. This also makes teens more likely to recognize issues and take appropriate action. A unique game called ReachOut Orb offers engaging play with a serious bent. Through interaction in a virtual world, players improve their mental fitness and well-being. Through playing the game, users can:

  • Come to understand a positivity mindset
  • Identify and use their own strengths
  • Develop and sustain positive relationships
  • Build resilience and personal strength
  • Hold themselves accountable for their actions

Increased Access to Psychological Counseling

Unfortunately, not everyone can afford traditional treatment options. Teens without health insurance coverage are left at a disadvantage when it comes to mental health. Even when they are covered, the amount of mental health services they can receive is often limited. Aside from financial issues, additional personal, social, and geographic factors also make access to needed mental health services less [2]. Here again, technology is helping to make a difference. Mobile developers are creating applications that make treatment options as close as the teen’s cell phone. Over 1,500 depression-related apps are available for download in the iTunes App Store. Since depression is the most prevalent mental health disorder among adolescents, greater access to help is a definite plus. Many of these apps provide community-based support through specialized social networks where those involved remain anonymous. This can help overcome the stigma often associated with mental illness and may improve the chance of teens seeking help. Others apps provide live coaching or therapy sessions with trained professionals. These can occur through specialized programs or through common ones like Skype or Facetime. While some of these services charge a fee, they are still significantly less expensive than more traditional in-office sessions. An example of this type is Pacifica. This app is designed as a self-help resource for those suffering from anxiety disorders. Pacifica uses therapeutic technology and incorporates principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation, and wellness to help users break the cycle of anxiety.

Mental Health Apps – Recovery Management

An important aspect of treating mental health illnesses is the continuing management of recovery. For many mental disorders, treatment is not a once-and-for-all accomplishment but requires ongoing administration to maintain effectiveness. This recovery management involves numerous aspects, including further education, record-keeping, medication reminders, progress monitoring, and more. Technology provides tools that help many manage important daily tasks that help improve and maintain their mental health. 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 counselors, but it also uses smartphone apps to track emotions and lifestyle, providing real-time data, automated communication tools, and alerts. The features of MyPsychTES help professionals monitor patients’ mental health progress and tailor treatment options effectively. It also aids patients in moving away from dark thoughts and provides positive affirmations or exercise routines through their mobile phones. At this time, unlike the far-out proposals of science fiction, mental health technologies should be seen as supplementing, not replacing, other common forms of treatment. However, new innovations continue to provide helpful tools for improving mental health, and the advantages are too significant to ignore.

Residential Adolescent Drug Treatment

Our addiction and mental health specialists live by a code of integrity that values truth above anything else. This means that the services provided by our team are aimed at giving young people as much support and strength as they need to battle addiction and mental health issues. To learn more about mental health and how we can help provide adolescent treatment for mental illness and substance use disorder, give us a call at 877.466.0620. We are looking forward to helping your teen on their own personal journey of recovery.

References [1] [2]