Imagine not using technology for 30 minutes, go on really imagine it? Emailing becomes impossible, making a cup of tea is out of the question, and you might as well forget about catching up with all the latest online Brexit shenanigans. If we need technology to do even the most simple things, then why not use it to empower and inform you about your own mental health?
Yes, yes the robots are coming for us and going to take all our jobs… or so the fear-mongering media would have us believe. It is true that technology advancements will impact the labour market, but it will also pave the way for humans to be far more creative and innovative within their roles. Is it at all possible to apply this to mental health? If technology is doing the measurable and specific stuff (keeping track of our mental health tendencies day-to day etc) doesn’t that then allow us to analyse patterns and figure out whether we could be more creative in the way we problem solve our own mental woes?
I’ve always been a talker, and fairly articulate when it comes to my specialist subject, me. But not everyone is gob-on-a-stick and has a more reserved approach. That’s the wonderful thing about technology, in that everyone has equal opportunity to talk about feelings. I might be leaning more towards social media in this instance, but it gives you the freedom to say whatever you so wish about the inner workings of your own mind. An abyss to shout into, some people care – others won’t, but for those who do it might even strike up a conversation about how you both feel about a particular subject therefore revving up a previously stationary conversation.
Predicting and preventing
A project championed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock included predictive technology, it’s called Good Thinking mental health in London. This technology is identifying those who might be at risk of, or are managing levels of depression, anxiety and low-level mental health conditions by analysing social media usage and search history. The goal is to then help these people via digital apps, online cognitive behavioural therapy, or face to face, in a bid to prevent conditions from worsening. Similar approaches around predictive technology are being used in the NHS, to help indicate and prevent a crisis from occurring, by putting measures and signposting in place.
Technology has the ability to empower people to stay healthy at any time of year – winter can be challenging for people because mood can be very weather dependent. The simple act of integrating mood-tracking apps could improve societal mental health greatly. The potential to predict and prevent instances of mental ill health through the conception and delivery of breakthrough technology is entirely significant.
Sometimes we tend to steer clear of technological advances, whether it’s too complicated to learn a new system or there is underlying fear of a lack of control within our own lives. But, we need to learn to let technology help empower and educate us, let’s embrace it and and use it to make our lives, and those in the generation to come more in tune with our own mental wellbeing.