Can’t even imagine what we would have done if not for technology in this remote work world. Technology has always strived to make our life easier. Not just at work, technology today is surpassing the taboo and stigma surrounding mental health sector by helping people access mental health care wherever they are, at whatever time via:
- Virtual Reality therapies, and
- A range of unique mobile apps
To be precise, virtual reality, mobile apps and other forms of new technology are transforming the mental health sector and changing the way we approach mental health care.
6 Ways technology is transforming the mental health sector
1. Virtual Reality (VR) – Exposure Therapy
For individuals suffering from PTSD, phobia, anxiety and panic attacks – Virtual Reality exposure therapy is indeed a boon. Exposing the individual to the situation that’s the source for his/her anxiety/panic/stress in real-life is a great challenge. And not to mention – time consuming and expensive as well. But not anymore! Virtual Reality is making exposure therapy a great success and helping patients cope and overcome PTSD, phobia, anxiety and panic attacks and many more psychological disorders!
To elaborate, if the patients are reluctant to approach their caregiver/therapist in person, they now have the option to communicate with them via Virtual Reality – the so-called ‘app world.’ Thus, this will not only help them get the desired help but also ensure that there is quick real-time communication, thereby increasing a sense of safety and security in the patients.
This is how it works:
Psychologists practice exposure therapy to guide participants through fear or trauma with the aim of gradually reducing adverse reactions. This sort of treatment usually involves exposing the person to a specific trauma incrementally – i.e. step-by-step via VR with an intention to help patients slowly build their tolerance until they no longer face a negative effect.
2. Connecting individuals with licensed therapists online
Finding a therapist or a psychologist is indeed a daunting task. It is even more difficult in this remote work era. But not anymore! Like Practo and other apps that aim to connect people with doctors who can help them – there are many mental health care apps that connect the right resources, psychologists, counselors, therapists and psychiatrists to those who are in need of their services.
In other words, these online platforms or mobile apps match individuals with licensed therapists for online sessions through texts, phone calls and even video.
3. Journaling applications to track one’s moods, sleep cycle and one’s overall physical and psychological health
Along with fitness apps that can track and monitor your fitness level, heart beat and motivate you to stay fit and healthy – there are a tons of mental health care mobile applications like Calm; Stop, Breathe & Think; Moodnotes, etc. that can help you track your moods, emotional state, sleep cycles and your overall psychological state. In other words, these apps can help you deal with day-to-day stress and help you relax and calm yourself with the help of its anxiety-reducing mindful techniques like guided meditation, sleep stories, and sound therapy, thereby, helping you keep track of not just how you are feeling at the moment. But also help you become more self-aware, overcome emotional distress, reduce stress, negative thoughts and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
4. Better assess, track, and engage clients in the time spent between therapy sessions
Mental health sector and organizations today have even designed mobile applications and websites to better assess, track, and engage clients during therapy sessions. Why during therapy sessions you ask? We will tell you! Several studies show that the time in between sessions is when those suffering from mental illness are most likely to struggle. And mental health care sectors who understand the significance of this, have tried to fill the gap by introducing various innovative and carefully crafted digital exercises with an aim to positively reinforce self-care.
In other words, here – the patients will be assigned a range of tasks and activities which they are required to do such as taking up assessments, journal entries, rating scales, and therapy-relevant worksheets. Automated notifications will remind the patients to complete their assignments on time. And these apps also help keep a track of these assignments and generate reports to help caregivers gain more insights that they can use in the treatment.
6. Online psychometric assessments
Last but not least, there are plenty of psychometric assessments that are available online. Some are free while others are a paid version. There are psychometric tests for everything – to help you understand your personality style, communication style, leadership style, your competencies, etc.
And there are also assessments that can help you determine if you are suffering from a disorder of any kind. And also the next steps you ought to take if you are diagnosed with a disorder. Some websites, platforms and mobile apps also connect you with the therapist/counsellor/psychologists immediately.
And it’s just the beginning….
No doubt, technology has changed the mental health sector for the better. They are not only helping mental health care professionals improve caregiving, but are helping people reach out to caregivers. Only the future will tell us what more advancement and good change technology will bring to mental health care.