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Last Updated on October 7, 2022 by Randy Withers, LCMHC
In a time when everyone is fighting burnout, the mental health crisis is more dire than ever. One in five people has a diagnosable mental illness they may struggle with daily. Most commonly, they are subject to anxiety and depression.
Digital health therapeutics can change the way many people look at the world. So many individuals might need help for their mental health, but they choose not to pursue it because of price or accessibility issues. The benefits of technology on mental health are unprecedented. However, while tech has its drawbacks, it can be used to enhance people’s lives, no matter what mental illnesses they might be battling.
Digital health therapeutics are one of the ways technology can enhance human society for the better. Those struggling with mental health issues will find solace in several tools and apps that can help them get treated faster and understood on a grander scale.
1. They Benefit All Individuals
Mental illness doesn’t just affect adults who are burned out from working at their jobs. It also affects young teenagers, many of whom are influenced by social media and the pressures on them in their academic and social lives. These issues affect people regardless of their demographics, so it’s time to look into a solution that will benefit a wide range of individuals.
The benefits of technology on mental health can assist people in getting a diagnosis they need for treatment or connecting them to resources that can help. These tools may function in several ways, but they can all help those needing them. Digital health therapeutics can help people no matter their issues and severity — they work for everyone.
2. They’re More Accessible
Digital health therapeutics are nothing new. During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people transitioned to telehealth appointments to meet with their doctors, a trend expected to continue as the United States moves past the pandemic. Moving to telemedicine was the first step in using virtual means to connect patients with the health and wellness tools they need.
Telemedicine becoming normalized is one of the best options for people who may not have reliable transportation or find it difficult to leave their homes.
These accessible tools are available in several different forms, which allow more people to access them. Those who don’t have a smartphone to access digital health therapeutics apps can opt for wearable devices that track certain metrics.
Most digital health therapeutics can be accessed via a smartphone, which nearly 84% of the world’s population has. Several mindfulness and self-help apps are available on every platform, and they can work well to balance someone’s emotions or mental state in the moment. Being able to send notifications to check on the user or prompt them to do something for themselves is just one of the benefits of technology on mental health.
Wearable tools can help those who feel like they might be in a crisis. People may be able to use them to track everything from mood to temperature. The tools can respond with automated feedback based on what the wearer must do to avoid burnout, illness or a crisis. Taking time away from work or moving to a flexible schedule might be key to preventing burnout, which can put people in an even more difficult position.
3. The Data Can Be Used for Good
The leader of an organization can examine how their volunteers or employees are feeling by anonymizing any data tracked through apps or wearable devices. The personal data collected by these devices in an office can remain anonymous so an employer only gets an overall estimate of how the whole workplace is feeling. The company can then take measures to protect their employees’ overall mental health — such as reducing hours or allowing them a day off work unexpectedly.
People can use their personal data to monitor themselves without information being transmitted to their employers. Patients can gain the care they need in a more affordable and accessible way, while physicians can know their care is reaching more people in the same amount of time. Almost 75% of people with severe depression showed improvement when using digital health therapeutics.
4. They Boost Awareness of Mental Health Issues
People don’t have to be broken beyond repair to seek help and better understand themselves. As more people begin to work from home permanently, they will face difficulties adjusting to their new lives. Some people may feel the loneliness that comes from moving away from a traditional school or office setting, while others might have issues with their mental health creep up seemingly out of nowhere.
The best way to deal with these issues is through digital health therapeutics. Though many already exist on the market, whether in app or wearable forms, people will continue to take advantage of them as they come out.
Mental health is already stigmatized, but with the help of digital health therapeutics, treatment can be more accessible and normalized for the people who need it. Around 43,000 suicides are reported each year, and awareness is what society needs to fully embrace mental health treatment and urge people to seek help when they need it.
5. They Connect Patients to a Support System
Technology is a double-edged sword. Access to the internet could mean feelings of failure or anxiety, especially on social media. However, it can also benefit users when they have the right tools or consume content mindfully in healthy amounts.
An online support system can be there when real-life loved ones can’t be. Many people flock to social media to find the support of their peers rather than to brag. A cheering section could increase people’s motivations, improve their mental health and even extend their life spans.
Certain apps help people feel less lonely or remind them to care for themselves. In this way, technology functions as a source of good things. Whether a user benefits from it depends on if and how they use digital health therapeutics in their routine. Apps are typically the most cost-effective form of receiving help or services, so the more digital health therapeutic tools available, the more people will flock to them.
These digital health therapeutics may have different functions, including collecting and reporting data anonymously or connecting patients to help whenever needed. However, these mental health technology innovations all serve the same purpose: to help people when their mental illness feels like too much to bear.
The benefits of technology on mental health are never-ending. As more workplaces and institutions start to take mental health seriously, people should be adapting to more and more digital tools to help them stay as well as they can. In the future, these digital health therapeutics will be prevalent enough to help out with any need — even if the user thinks nobody can understand.