From dial-up internet to accessing Google from the palm of your hand, technology has evolved rapidly in just the past decade or two.
Nowadays, you can use your phone to call anyone from anywhere in the world, play complex and intricate games on your television, use your smartwatch to record your blood pressure, and more.
While there exists the argument that technology, when abused, can be detrimental to everybody’s health, the advantages of high-tech devices cannot be understated.
Ironically, one of these advantages involves improving one’s mental health.
There are countless ways that technology can help improve your mental health, especially because it’s become essentially embedded into daily life.
You can peruse some of the best mental health apps of last year, use your computer to schedule doctor visits, and so much more. Licensed mental health professionals of all types, like those at MyTherapist, are only a click away.
No matter your challenges or concerns, you may already have access to a device that can help you improve your mental health.
How can technology help with mental health?
Technology can provide access to resources and information that may otherwise be impossible to discover. It can also allow an individual to receive legitimate health care and treatment right from the comfort of their own home.
Here are four ways that technology can aid you in making your mental health the best that it can be:
1. Telehealth Services
Over the last decade, more and more people are using telehealth (virtual visits) for their doctor, therapist, or other medical appointments.
All you need is a device that can connect to the internet, a type of web camera, and a microphone, with the latter two potentially already built into a majority of devices.
Thanks in large part to the benefits of telehealth – including more affordable prices, convenience, and the ability to provide care for people who live in rural areas – this option has become incredibly important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, one in four Americans over the age of 50 said that they had a virtual health care appointment during the first three months of the pandemic.
Is it right for me?
There are, unfortunately, a few potential drawbacks to relying solely on telehealth services.
You will need to see a doctor in person if you want specific tests conducted, such as blood work, for instance, and some offices may require you to come in person to complete patient onboarding paperwork or tasks.
Depending on your telehealth provider, the security of personal health data being transmitted over the internet is a concern.
Although, many companies are trying to mitigate this issue by investing in worthwhile security solutions. Be sure to trust only companies that are reputable and consistently demonstrate they prioritize patient confidentiality.
Lastly, some services relating to telehealth may not be covered under your insurance plan. Any specific questions you have regarding coverage can generally be directed to your provider for clarification.
2. Online Support Groups
When it comes to mental health concerns, it’s common for individuals to feel as if they do not have anyone to talk to in their immediate vicinity.
A great solution to this problem is to try to become part of communities made up of people who have similar physical or mental health issues. Online forums or online support groups are great options!
Not only can you find a supportive online community through easily accessible social media, such as Facebook or Twitter, online groups tend to serve as an effective complement to counseling services.
Another point worth mentioning is that many online communities allow you to remain anonymous, if you so desire. Using a username that doesn’t reveal personal information can give you some much-needed peace of mind if you’re concerned.
3. Mobile Apps
One of the easiest ways to improve your mental health is downloading one of many free apps on your phone targeted at promoting mindfulness, reflection, and self-care.
These apps can range from meditative applications that guide you through helpful yoga practices to software that makes a game out of exercising to apps that help you track your sleep patterns. The options are endless!
Some apps allow you to monitor your symptoms in real-time and send any data you collect to your medical health provider. Certain apps may allow your provider to check in on your status as the week goes on.
Furthermore, apps that encourage you to self-report your symptoms may help in improving increased awareness about a particular physical or mental health illness.
4. Chatbots and Voice Assistants
Some individuals may not like the idea of talking to another person about something personal, especially if the topic is especially painful or traumatizing to relive.
A simple solution is using chatbots, even if it’s just to get yourself used to talking to another “person” about such heavy subjects.
Voice assistance tools and chatbots, while not a good replacement for professional care, can help you practice communicating. Some devices can provide much-needed advice or direct you to resources you can utilize.
Along with voice assistants, many online therapy websites incorporate a chatbot as part of their service. You can use the chatbot to disclose your feelings, and the automated system may then connect you to someone well-versed or knowledgeable about your specific concerns.
If you have ever felt lonely, believe that mental health symptoms are affecting your daily life, or just want someone to talk to, help is available.
Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to use the resources around us to improve our lives. You can use your phone, tablet, or computer to join a support group, find a good therapist, and access information that can help you better understand your feelings.
The world may come across as a cruel and unforgiving place; however, there are people and services out there that are more than willing to help you, so long as you are willing to give them your time in return.