Behavioral and mental health challenges are serious issues around the world. In fact, according to recent research conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO), almost one billion people live with some type of mental affliction or behavioral issues. What’s more disconcerting is that WHO reports that over 75% of people who struggle with mental disorders do not (or cannot) seek help for various reasons.
Enter the era of health technology. New, cutting edge tech is becoming more affordable and it is tremendously impacting mental health for the better. In truth, healthcare technology has revolutionized the mental health industry so that people can receive treatment they need to live full and healthy lives.
Moreover, technology is providing necessary resources and assistance for those who might not have access to treatment. Read on for some key innovations in health technologies that are positively impacting mental health for people all around the world.
Just a few years ago, tech was extremely limited when it came to diagnosing issues in the brain that might result in mental disorders. Conditions such as tumors, trauma, or substance abuse impact the brain to the extent that these triggers cause significant detriment to memory function, and can lead to mental maladies.
As such, biotech scientists have upped their game when it comes to pinpointing and diagnosing conditions such as wet brain, psychosis, bi-polar disorder, and other brain-centric issues that lead to mental instabilities. Technology plays a key role in examining brain function via high-tech brain scans such as MRIs and resonance imaging.
Without advancements in computer and biotech, mental healthcare professionals would lack the resources to assess potential brain damage or disorders that could be the root cause of many behavioral issues or mental illness.
Believe it or not, people suffering from mental health issues can now take a digital pill. This specialized pill contains a sensor. Once ingested, the digital pill has the ability to monitor symptoms and collect data on the patient. This new med tech has proven extremely helpful with patients with mental disorders because it’s often a challenge for them to consistently stick to their conventional medicine-taking routines. With the digital pill, mental health specialists get real-time information as to whether or not a patient has taken medications as well as if their symptoms are worsening.
Video Games for Mental Health
Another example of technology impacting mental health is seen through the use of prescription video games. In June of 2020, the Federal Drug Administration approved the use of prescription video games that help children from the ages of 8 to 12 who struggle with ADHD. The game is designed to help young patients with attention-deficit disorders to focus, problem-solve and multi-task more effectively. So far, measurable improvements are coming to light that prove there is great promise for this technological mental health marvel.
If you think virtual reality (VR) headsets are just for gamers – think again. Mental health practitioners are recommending adults and children with ADHD or autism to utilize VR in order to reduce anxiety. VR headsets also help acclimate these people to stressful or awkward social situations as they can practice being in an environment before being exposed to potentially high-anxiety situations such as attending school or job interviews. VR technology is also helping people with phobias, PTSD, and extreme anxiety as it can produce a calming atmosphere for the user.
While AI could never replace in-person, human therapists, it is becoming a viable tech solution for patients needing to manage their condition between appointments. Artificial intelligence assistants can provide support to people who struggle with mental challenges as they can serve patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Furthermore, AI can assess a patient’s speech and voice in order to detect distress, anxiety or worsening conditions. In turn, these AI assessments can be submitted to the patient’s physician who can then provide prompt treatment or care if required.
Final Thoughts on Tech and Its Influence on Mental Health
Ultimately, the best solution for treating mental health concerns will always boil down to human empathy and support. However, technology has made tremendous strides in assisting mental health professionals and patients alike. Considering the ever-growing demands, technology will assuredly continue to advance and be utilized to meet the needs of people faced with mental health challenges around the world.