A psychiatrist’s couch is not the only place to seek help anymore. Technology has pushed it far beyond – in people’s pockets, on their laptops and even within Facebook and WhatsApp messenger. From online counseling and digital support groups to emotional wellness content platforms, a new-ecosystem is developing to combat stress, burnout, loneliness and anxiety.
Stigma, time, cost and availability which continued to be the biggest barriers are being done away with. Technology is reshaping the traditional model by improving access and customizing the experience. At present, more than 10,000 health apps are already there in the market. The behavioral health software market is projected to reach $2.31 billion by 2022, growing 14.8 percent annually.
People and societies are becoming more open about discussing their depression, anxiety and mental illness. Majorly because celebrities, royalty, and industrialists are coming forward with their mental health challenge stories. This is increasing the awareness of mental health and wellness in society. Technology is playing an important role by providing answers to protect and enhance mental health.
THE VIRTUAL DOCTOR
Online platforms are particularly appealing to millennials as getting a medical appointment is getting easy as ordering food. They are cheaper, easier to connect and above all its private. Privacy is to such an extent that sometimes even doctors don’t know their patients by face.
Wellness wearables with Biosensors like wristbands, bracelets, etc are gaining traction. There is a huge number of Wellness apps available in the market. Every company in this sector is trying to innovate and bring in some changes to its model of imparting healthcare and wellness. From Biosensors to AI everything is being used. Even virtual reality is gaining pace.
THE NEW NORMAL
As cultural norms continue to shift, mental health technologies will move into the mainstream. New generations will wholeheartedly accept the convenience of these technologies and eventually will become habitual of it. Organizations and colleges are supporting its employees and students by providing them with mental healthcare platforms to combat the rising stress burnout and anxiety.
I would conclude it by saying all of these are just the tip of the iceberg. Research on the impact of AI on psychiatry and other areas, including patient diagnosis is being done. Alexa or Siri might one day be more than a virtual assistant as big tech companies continue to improve their voice technology in healthcare,
In the coming years, we could expect more wellbeing tools that coexist with medical care. By teleconferencing and using meditation apps the new generation might not even have to go to a therapist physically. Maybe wearing a bracelet will warn us before a panic attack. The future will not just be intrusive but exciting as well.