Technology has become so pervasive in our lives that many of us cannot survive one day without our smartphones or laptops. In some ways, technology can cause problems, while in most cases, it has improved many aspects of our everyday lives. Here are a few ways technology is changing the way we address and respond to mental health issues:
First Responders for Mental Disorders
A person who is dealing with a crisis — a panic attack, for example — will call 911 to ask for help. When this happens, a cop will drop by and drive the caller to a nearby hospital where they can be given appropriate care.
Moreover, there are platforms that will make the response to a patient going through a mental health issue receive immediate care easier. Julota, for instance, connects emergency medical services and law enforcement with mental health professionals. When someone needs help, a police officer, accompanied by an appropriate co-responder, will go to the caller’s home.
The co-responder will carry out relevant techniques that will address the situation. As in the example above, a mental health professional will guide the caller through simple activities to calm them down during a panic attack. The co-responder can also provide instructions and resources for the next time they feel overwhelmed by their emotions so that they can calm down on their own.
The internet can successfully connect a patient who needs help with the right mental health professionals. Nowadays, patients no longer have to go out of the comforts of their homes to meet with their therapists. There are services and platforms that allow patients to discuss their conditions with a therapist through a video call.
This is perfect for those who cannot get out of their homes for whatever reason or who cannot find an available therapist in their area. There is a great demand for mental health services, but there is a shortage of professionals in the United States. Until the problem has been properly addressed, video therapy is a good alternative to face-to-face consultations.
Behavior Tracking Apps
There is an app for pretty much anything under the sun. For those who are struggling with mental health issues, there are apps wherein they can log their moods for monitoring. This way, patients can better understand themselves and their conditions, what triggers bad thoughts and emotions, and recognize patterns that otherwise will elude them. These apps can also be used to detect suicidal inclinations and predict manic or depressive episodes before they manifest.
Virtual Reality Treatment for PTSD
Some therapists use virtual reality to treat patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with a type of cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy known as exposure therapy. In exposure therapy, the patient faces their own fears with the guidance of a licensed mental health professional. If done correctly, exposure therapy has been proven to help a patient overcome the anxiety and distress associated with their condition.
Through virtual reality, a patient can undergo exposure therapy in the safety of a doctor’s office. While wearing a headset and earphones, the patient is shown a combination of images and sounds while they discuss their fears and experiences. In the United States, a handful of clinicians are now using virtual reality as part of treatment. Scientists continue to study VR on American soldiers who are suffering from PTSD.
Technology is neither good or bad. It has many aspects that ease daily life but, if used excessively, it can cause problems. If you are experiencing a mental health issue, reach out to a mental health professional.