How is Technology helping to tackle Mental Health?
Telehealth for consultation is now mainstream, gaining widespread acceptability during COVID lockdown. Both the clinicians and the new mothers have embraced the technology, and it has made the service available to those living in rural and remote areas who, before telehealth, had little or no support. Mental health apps are also a great help to these women due to their convenience and low cost. Technology is moving faster than research, and some health professionals worry about the privacy aspect of patient care, as many apps don’t adhere to privacy guidelines.
In both Australia and the USA, one-on-one Telehealth conferencing appears to be a good solution for clients to connect with the appropriate service, as in both places there is a shortage of mental health professionals. Allowing the client to connect with the health professional for one hour a week for six weeks (a free service in Australia) is why there are not enough mental health practitioners to go around. The evaluations from the last almost five years have shown the true value of this service. The new mothers have said that it is wonderful to have their therapy from home without having to get dressed or travel to another suburb to get help.
There are various indicators that show if a patient is deteriorating, so seeing them on the Telehealth monitor is very important. Some women become extremely depressed to the extent that they can’t shower or get dressed. This would be a red flag to the therapist, and just speaking via phone shows none of this. If the patient requires medicating, the doctor needs to meet with them face-to-face to work out what is required.
Group Therapy and Social Media
Often, new mothers feel more supported when they meet in groups. Online chat groups may fill this need and bring about digital transformation.
Social media is a way of getting all the new mothers together fast and on one platform like Spotify. Greenroom, a chat group for new mothers, could fill this need and allow them to book a time every week to meet and discuss issues common to them. A facilitator could also manage the group, keep things on track, and maximize the benefits of group therapy.
Help With Anxiety
Anxiety can now be managed with an app. The top-rated app, Calm, was first released in 2017 and helps those suffering from anxiety by using guided meditation and breathing. For many people, anxiety is a lifelong condition, and technology is now able to help by providing mental health apps for mood tracking and stress reduction.
To mental health professionals, all of the technology is a bonus, and the client base for many areas of mental health is young people. They adapt to the technology far more quickly than the health professionals, and it requires both groups to work closely together to guide the outcomes. If we can stay connected all our lives, we are far less likely to become depressed and suffer from poor mental health.
Headspace provides young people and families with information on managing good mental health. Since the pandemic, many people have lost friends and colleagues from being away from work and school for prolonged periods. Humans need that day-to-day contact, and it is important to get back to normal as soon as possible. Families are usually the greatest support mechanism that a young person can have. If you notice that your child or teenager is struggling, seek help from Headspace.
Technology has been such a bonus in tackling mental health issues. Inventing the solutions and developing the right technology is half the battle. Digital health is still a new field, but it is such a gift for health professionals, stakeholders, and patients.