Mental health is a serious issue, and it affects all of us. Modern technology has made many advances in this field, including telehealth apps that make therapy more accessible to people living in rural areas, wearable tech that can help identify PTSD symptoms and make treatment easier for veterans suffering from them, and even virtual reality therapy that uses VR headsets to treat anxiety disorders. These innovations might seem like small changes on the surface, but they are part of an overall trend toward making mental health care more easily available to everyone who needs it. Here are some of the trends.
Online Diagnostic Tools
More and more people are using online sources to self-assess and diagnose mental health concerns. The internet is full of online resources that can help you understand what mental health issues are, how they can affect your life, and what you might be experiencing. Using these resources should be the first step in seeking out mental health treatment for those who need it. It’s best to work with a medical professional who understands the condition you have and can help you work through a crisis.
Smart Medication Reminders
When people are on medications for mental health conditions, it can be easy to forget to take the pill or pills at the right time. Using a smart medication reminder can ensure that the medication is taken at the right time each day. This is a device that alerts patients to take their medications at the right time or even at all. These devices are also great for reminding patients to refill their prescriptions when they are due, reducing the risk of forgetting to do so. This is especially helpful for rehab patients receiving outpatient treatment because these reminders can help them better manage their mental health conditions without needing to stay long-term in a rehab facility.
Digital Medical Records Create Continuity of Care
Digital medical records can help people access their medical history and other information between providers. This is especially helpful for people who may have trouble remembering when they went to the doctor, or who have multiple providers and need to keep track of all their appointments with different doctors. Digital medical records also make it easier for professionals to share information about patients among themselves, meaning that a patient’s treatment plan can be more effective.
Access to Behavioral Change Apps
Cognitive behavioral therapy is growing in popularity with people who have certain mental health conditions. With the proliferation of smartphone usage and the increasing popularity of apps to help with mental health, there is a growing interest in how these technologies can better support behavioral change.
In addition to being used as a self-monitoring tool for individuals who have been diagnosed with a mental health condition, apps can also be used by individuals who may not meet the criteria for diagnosis but have symptoms of concern. Apps can provide access to resources that offer guidance on how to cope with these symptoms and promote recovery. They can also provide information on preventative measures such as exercise and diet, which are important components of maintaining good mental health over time.
Telehealth Improves Access to Therapy
Telehealth is a way to get therapy without leaving your home. Telehealth services can be used for people who are too sick to leave their homes, or who have trouble getting to the therapist’s office. It’s also useful for people with disabilities and other issues that affect mobility, such as those living in remote areas. Telehealth removes one barrier to access for rehab patients as well. Offering telehealth means that they can attend their sessions from home to ensure that they continue with the process of recovery.
Virtual Reality for Mental Health Treatment
You may have heard that virtual reality is being used to treat PTSD and other mental health conditions. While this can be an effective treatment, it’s not the only way that technological advancements are changing the field of mental health. Using scenarios can help people who experience debilitating flashbacks reconnect to the real world again.
Technology has the potential to make mental health care more accessible and affordable, but it’s important to remember that many of these treatments are still experimental. Any technology that we use today will likely need improvements and updates as time goes on. But if leveraging technology and new innovations help people better manage their mental health needs, then maybe someday soon there will be no need for any of us to struggle alone.