The way technology impacts peoples mental health, either positively or negatively, has been a controversial subject for many years.
Technology can have a massive impact on the way people think about themselves and live their lives.
Did you know 1 in 4 people experience a mental health illness at some point in their life? However, nearly two-thirds of people who struggle with their mental health do not seek help.
This is commonly due to a few reasons;
- Fear and shame.
- Lack of insight.
- Limited awareness.
- Feelings of inadequacy.
- Practical barriers.
Technology can aid in these barriers and help people receive the support they need. Carry on reading to find out how.
Technology makes it easier for people to get online and stay connected to those important to them.
This gives people the opportunity to talk to others such as family and friends about their mental health. This prevents people from becoming isolated and feeling alone.
This has been particularly important during the lockdowns which occurred during the covid-19 pandemic. Technology allowed people to use online video calls to stay in touch with their loved ones, as well as learning and business.
Following on from the previous point, being able to stay connected online can help avoid social isolation.
‘Now days technology is every where. Roughly 6.6 billion own a smart phone worldwide and the average person spends 3 and a half hours on their phone every day.‘
There are endless amounts of online support available to those struggling with mental health.
In the UK online therapy has become increasingly popular.
Online community support groups are also a great way to connect online with others who also experience mental health issues. These type of groups are great to help people feel like they’re not alone. They can help overcome barriers such as; fear, shame, hopelessness, feeling of inadequacy and lack of awareness. Talking to others about mental illnesses and seeing how others have coped with their own experiences can help people see they’re not alone. This means people are more likely to seek professional help that they need.
Betterhelp is a online therapy service with 22000+ licensed therapists ready to help those struggling. So far, they have helped over 2 million people online!
Many doctors now also offer the possibility to look at medical records and book appointments online.
‘Numerous studies and NHS research has found online counselling and remote therapy to be just as effective as visiting a counsellor or therapist face to face.’
Technology has made mental health hotlines easier to find and contact.
Without phones, being able to ring hotlines to get help would be impossible.
However, now that approximately 6.4 billion own a smart phone worldwide, hotlines are a great way to get help online.
List of hotlines available:
Samaritans – 116 123
SANEline – 0300 304 7000
National Suicide Prevention Helpline UK – 0800 689 5652
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM)– 0800 58 58 58
If you would prefer to text rather than talk, CALM also have an online webchat: Webchat – Campaign Against Living Miserably (thecalmzone.net)
‘In 2020, Samaritans volunteers responded to over 10,000 calls for help every day.’
Mental health apps
Another great example of how technology helps mental health is apps.
There are hundreds of apps out there aiming to help those struggling with mental health.
You don’t even need a computer, as all apps are made for smartphones, which a lot of people have now.
Below are some of the top mental health apps:
Headspace- this app offers meditation and is great for relaxation and aiding sleep.
Calm- Another great meditation and relaxation app. This app focuses on specifics such as anxiety, self esteem, focus and selfcare.
Aura- This app pairs your mood with certain meditation techniques.
Productive- This app helps you track and manage your to-dos, you can also see your progress and see how well you are doing.
Insight timer- A free meditation app with more than 35000 meditation techniques.
Panic Relief- An app that you can use when your anxiety is high, or during a panic attack to help you calm down.
Sanvello- This app helps to track thought and behaviour patterns and then shows ways to cope and change these patterns.
The above are just a few recommended. There are many many more apps out there to support those who need help dealing with their mental health, take a look on the app store on your phone.
‘There is a 65% year-on-year increase in the number of yoga and meditation app searches.’
Online instead of offline
Technology doesn’t just allow people to get the support they need online. It also enables them to do certain things online which they might find hard to do in real life, especially those with anxiety.
Some examples being:
- book doctor or dentist appointments online, rather than making phone calls.
- order food online.
- do an online learning course rather than going to college or university.
- online banking
‘Nearly 14 million patients across England are now securely using online services with their family doctor to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions and view their records.’
As you can see, the advances in technology has made receiving support with mental health become a lot easier and accessible. Anyone can get help online such as online support groups, mental health apps or professional online therapy.
Keep an eye out for our next blog which will be explaining the ways technology has a negative effect on mental health (out next week.)