There is a developing crisis of belonging, which is leading to an uptick in mental health challenges, addiction, and other issues across the board. For example, in the United States, it has been estimated that one in four individuals suffer from some sort of mental health challenge each year.
his means either you are suffering or you know someone who is suffering right now. While statistics such as these can make the problem seem insurmountable in reality there are many ways to use technology to support everyone’s mental health. Mental health resources are not limited by geography or social-economic status. Anyone who needs support should have the support they need.
Technology is making it easier and easier to care for our basic needs even if we find ourselves to have extremely low energy or struggle with our executive function capacities.
Sometimes making healthy choices simply involves too much effort but there are many ways technology can help. We can use our phones to set reminders to take medicine, eat, or shower. We can find ways to focus on our appearance by ordering clothing such as a plus size little black dress, or something in our favorite colors which makes us feel better about ourselves.
We can order groceries or subscribe to meal plans by mail, so we do not have to have the energy to leave the house, the energy to plan out healthy meals, or even the ability to pick something to eat for dinner. If we have a bit more energy we can use technology to find simple ways to incorporate more movement into our lives such as through yoga or a dance class to boost our endorphins. Technology can help us meet our basic needs whenever and wherever we need support.
While therapy is an important part of maintaining healthy mental health sometimes during a mental health crisis we do not have the energy or ability to physically get ourselves to a therapist. The great news is there is a wide range of resources online where we can reach out.
There are many apps available online which provide resources to better respond to mental challenges such as thorough breathing exercises, mediations, or other activities. In addition, because of COVID-19, many therapists are offering online therapy sessions and most insurance companies are covering these services.
Also, there are many communities online for those who are struggling to be able to discuss their experiences and share what has been working for them. Sometimes we just need safe spaces to express what we are feeling and what we are struggling with knowing that we are not alone and others are experiencing the same thing.
If the person who is struggling is not you but instead a friend or family member there are many resources to help you better understand their experience and know what you can and should do to help. These resources can help you better understand a person’s particular challenges and provide ways you might be able to be supportive.
What a mental health issue might look like in a child or college student might be different than in an adult or senior. There are also resources to help you determine if someone’s challenge might be getting serious and in need of additional help such as in cases where someone might be suicidal. Knowing the warning signs in different population groups can help you best respond in case of an emergency.
If you are struggling or know someone who is struggling with mental health know you can use technology to support yourself. We have a great opportunity to have the resources and support we need to be brought to us. When struggling remember not to blame yourself for needing some extra help. If we all reached out whenever we needed support and talked about it we would be able to change the conversations around mental health and be able to help more of us thrive.