Contributed by: Jane Sandwood

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

Despite the media often touting the negative effects technology can have on our mental health, research suggests that technology can, in fact, be utilized to help us achieve both a healthy body and a healthy mind.  Although suicide rates in Connecticut increased by nearly 20% between 1999 and 2016 according to the CDC, the state remains the best in the country in terms of mental health wellness according to data released by Mental Health America. Now, thanks to an influx of smart technologies, mental health conditions can be diagnosed and treated in a timely manner.

Apps can light the way
Technology is transforming our lives and the way we address mental health issues one smart application at a time. There are a large variety of mental health-related applications available on the market.  Some are targeted at relieving the symptoms associated with certain health conditions such as depression, anxiety or schizophrenia while others are designed to track moods and thoughts and remind patients of pending treatments.  There are even applications that are specifically designed for patient living with various eating disorders as well as though battling with PTSD brought on by serving in the armed forces or domestic abuse.

Choose your apps carefully
With so many applications readily available for download, the American Psychological Association recommends that patients with mental health conditions and their loved ones only make use of applications that are associated with either government agencies or academic research institutions such as universities and hospitals. If you are able to pick one with an intuitive user interface, do so as they will be significantly easier to follow, allowing for more positive outcomes.

Online text and video therapy sessions becoming commonplace
Due to the immense shortage of mental health professionals across the USA, online therapy is becoming a literal lifesaver to potentially at-risk patients who cannot find a suitable practitioner in his/her area. Thanks to the huge stigma attached to mental health conditions, many individuals are simply too proud to seek the help they so desperately need. Online therapy helps negates the stigma by adding an added layer of confidentiality to the therapist/patient interaction. One prime example of online therapy comes in the form of The Moderated Online Social Therapy (MOST) web platform from eOrygen. MOST combines all the social aspects of Facebook with specialized therapy components together with a forum feature where members can ask for advice on common problems.

Technology, when utilized responsibly, can be a great ally in the fight against mental illness. Not only can the various specialized apps and gadgets help pinpoint mental illness but it can also offer real-time assistance in time of need.