Technology is improving our lives every day, and it was only a matter of time before technology was applied to helping those with mental health troubles too. There are already plenty of ways technology helps people through telehealth, letting people see doctors and therapists for their health concerns from the comfort of their own homes. Tech is constantly being developed to create prosthetics, vaccines, and the like to help people in need. When close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, it makes sense to apply these technologies to help people mentally as well.
How can technology help people confront their mental health struggles positively? Here are a few ways.
Smartphone apps are plentiful, and many are dedicated to improving mental health. Some help monitor the causes of a person’s anxiety and stress, while others let you anonymously vent to others in communities of people who understand what you’re going through. These are especially helpful for people who cannot otherwise afford any form of therapy, though they shouldn’t act as a replacement for seeing a therapist. While some apps have professionals connected to them, not every app does. They should be seen as something to look into in addition to seeing a licensed therapist, not as an all-out replacement for talking with and getting help from a professional.
You can still get mental health help from websites if you don’t have access to a smartphone. With Google alone, you can immediately have access to a myriad of information about mental health issues: what causes them, symptoms of the illnesses, resources to look for when searching for treatment, and more. Also available are sites that people who are struggling can go to so that they can speak with volunteers that’ll help them cope with their situation. Helplines are always available for people who need to speak with someone, whether it be an issue that can wait or something that you need immediate help with.
Chatbots and Voice Assistants
Unfortunately for many people, the thought of speaking with another person and sharing their vulnerability with a stranger is a barrier within itself. Phone calls can be anxiety-inducing, so technology steps in by offering AIs and chatbots to help cross that barrier. Having access to voice assistants like Alexa, Google Home, and others will let you speak to someone while giving you resources to get the help that you need.