For so many years, technology and good mental health have appeared to have nothing in common between them. In fact, it seems like technology has been indicated in some adverse mental states like addiction, distraction, and narcissism. While this may be true, it is also true that the unrelenting advance of technology is opening up new frontiers in the field of mental health. So, let us look at 7 ways technology can serve to improve mental health in the near future.
Conversation Simulator: A lot of mental health issues can be solved with adequate and meaningful discussions. Technology has made for the provision of robots who can engage someone in the taboo topic of mental health, while providing an accommodating and non-judgmental atmosphere. In this kind of atmosphere, mental issues can be brought to light, addressed and resolved appropriately. Note that this will not take the place of inter-human communication.
Management of Loneliness: Yes, now we can have a bot that acts like a companion, engages us in games and prompts us to keep up with our various relationships. In other words, we have a bot that can keep us from loneliness. Less loneliness, less depression. Less depression, less mental issues.
Health Records: A large portion of efficient health care is proper records. With the advances of the computer age, large scale number crunching is now possible and can produce phenomenal effects if applied to the field of mental health. It will be easier to predict the occurrence of mental health problems based on epidemiological evidence. This earlier diagnosis helps in making management much easier.
Stress Management: A lot of technologies, both those existing and those under development can help in the management of stress. This is achieved either by helping the individual identify and remove stressors and potential stressors or by engaging the individual in activities which help in reducing the levels of stress. Stress is a major component or exacerbating factor for most mental disease, so this technology might prove groundbreaking in the mental health field.
Virtual Reality: A lot of mental disorders (agoraphobia for example) are based on a feeling of powerlessness and lack of control over the immediate environment. Technology can help in alleviating this using Virtual Reality. Through Virtual Reality, the user can be immersed in an environment of his own choosing, restoring that feeling of control over the immediate environment. This may prove crucial in managing several mental conditions.
Behavior trackers: Some mental health crises can be predicted by the immediate behavior of the patients up to that moment. Some robots under beta testing have been able to accurately predict crises just using behavioral information and a couple of algorithms. When these bots come into mainstream use, and we can now accurately predict mental health crises, imagine the implications for the mental health field.
Mental Apps: They say there’s an app for everything. This is especially true in the field of mental health where there’s an app for almost every disease ranging from ADHD to PTSD. And as time goes on, more and more apps are being developed with novel means of helping people handicapped by their mental health. Today, it’s breathing exercises. Who knows what it might be tomorrow? Vast is the imagination of man, and equally vast is the potential for app usage in the mental health industry.
Mental health in our society is a taboo topic. However, with the giant strides being made in technology, the near future holds many breakthroughs for the management of mental health disorders.