- As of 2019, 45 million American adults (including those covered by Medicaid) have experienced mental illness.
- Approx. 35% of American adults are not receiving necessary mental treatment because of issues of stigma.
- According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 65% of non-metropolitan countries lack psychiatrist and 47% of non-metropolitan countries don’t have a psychologist.
What is Digital Mental Health?
Digital mental healthcare refers to online self-help alternatives for those mental patients who are unable to speak freely with someone regarding their problem. There are many digital health smartphone apps or online self-help resources that can be used privately on one’s own schedule and pace without any waiting list, thanks to the advanced internet technology.
However, despite the availability of e-mental resources and smartphone apps, recent studies have found that there is less awareness among people of digital mental health and other web-based therapies. The following are the 4 effective ways to improve mental health using digital mental health services in 2020.
Extend Access to Mental Care with Digital Therapy and Tele-psychiatry
Metropolitan areas, which are considered as advanced cities, face the scarcity of mental health resources. Digital health solutions are necessary to extend the patient’s access points. Telepsychiatry service is a good example of this that provides psychiatry doctors from distant places thereby reducing the waiting periods for mental services. Digital therapy is another solution to deal with anxiety, depression, and other similar mental problems. This online therapy reduces the conventional in-personal time period increasing panel size for less number of therapists.
Liza Hoffman, Social Worker and Consultant, Digital Mental Health & Integrated Behavioral Health says:
To increase engagement, people with lived experience must play a central role in the development of recovery-oriented #digitalhealth tools and app evaluation frameworks. Many important points from @drkarenfortuna that I hope will garner the attention they deserve. https://t.co/sOLqf9waND— Liza Hoffman, MSW, LICSW (@LHoffmanLICSW) November 9, 2019
Early Diagnosis and Screening for Teens and Young Adults
More than half of the lifetime mental disorders occur between ages 14 to 24. Early identification and screening can prove effective for teens and young adults. Early involvement in solving their problems can reduce the risk of prolonged mental illness at a significant level. Unlike the traditional diagnosis process, digital mental health technology provides quick access and priority at a wider range.
Stephen Schueller, assistant professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine explores the role of technology in the future of mental health care:
Removing the Social Stigma Associated with Seeking Mental Treatment
In 2014, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that only 35% of patients suffering from depression symptoms contacted a psychiatrist. This shows that social stigma is still affecting the people’s mindset, therefore, worsening their problem. But digital solutions help such people by allowing them to seek help as per their convenience. Customers can purchase digital therapy solutions if they want private and individual treatment. This means if a person is suffering from depression or anxiety but embarrassed to share his concerns with family or friends, he can receive online mental health treatment safely and conveniently.
Alliance with Primary Care and Mental Health Specialists
When it comes to screening and identifying mental illness, primary care providers are at the forefront. If they identify that the problem is at a complex level, mental health professional intervenes and they together work on the problem. Many studies have shown that the collaboration of primary service providers, psychiatric consultants, and other mental health professionals produce more efficient results. Hence, if digital health technology alliance with such mental health experts, the results will be best as patients are treated more personally and in synchronization with their individual requirements and abilities.
What do you think about Digital Mental Health Technology? Share your thoughts with us.
Rashmi Chimmalgi is a professional content writer. She enjoys writing. Her focus is on writing quality and informative content for her readers. When she is not writing she is either reading books or cooking some unique recipes in her kitchen.