Technology to Support Mental Health AwarenessBy Miriam Bello | Tue, 05/11/2021 - 14:51
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, which aims to reduce stigma on mental health issues and amplify access to resources to address this common but delicate subject. “You are not alone” is one of the campaign’s core messages, which is also promoting support strategies to reduce the negative impact of mental health disorders. Countries have joined the initiative in several ways. For instance, UK magazine Nature held a special theme for Mental Health Awareness Week, which takes place from May 10 to May 16.
Raising awareness is a global task, as everyone can suffer from a mental health issue. Mental Health Awareness Month can help through several ways, according to Swhelper, including:
- By helping people realize there is a possible issue or condition and providing information on where and how to get help. “We found that in many cases people may not access these services because it is difficult due to cultural or language barriers.” In Mexico, this could be the case for migrants, refugees and indigenous people.
- Awareness eliminates stigma for those living with a mental disorder. Stigma shames the mentally ill and creates communities that reject those who are “different.”
- Awareness can also generate improvements for the mentally ill as more demand from the public can lead to better attention. It can also lead to improvements on policy, research, solutions and services.
Initiatives such as “You are not alone” aim to break down isolation barriers caused by COVID-19. While in-person meetings are still limited, technology is an effective way to remain connected. Likewise, technology has also helped to provide mental health support for mild issues. For instance, several apps help users address mental issues:
- Wysa aims to accompany those experiencing anxiety. This AI powered bot allows users to manage their anxiety, find stress relief, control anger and sleep. Wysa also offers a network of phycologist hat offer up to eight discounted telemedicine consultations.
- Talkspace has been rated as the best overall therapy app for one-on-one support with licensed therapists. The consultations are part of the coverage package of some US insurance companies. It also offers a more affordable option through a weekly low-cost consultation using text messages.
- MY3 combats suicide thoughts. After receiving a warning sign from the user, the connects them with helpful resources such as counselor and alerts 911 or three close contacts chosen by the user.
- Quit That! Is an app for addiction control that can track habits or addictions and tells users how many minutes, hours, days, weeks or years have passed since they quit.
- eMoods is an app for bipolar disorders that tracks the user’s moods through the day and identifies mood changes from depressive and psychotic symptoms, elevated mood and irritability. The app also gives an indicator of the severity of their symptoms, stores the data and provides a monthly summary of specific triggers.
- Recovery Record is for people fighting eating disorders. The app keeps record of meals and feelings after that meal. Through its questionnaire, users are able to track their progress emotionally and physiologically.
- Headspace is an app for mediation, mindfulness and anxiety, which has been catalogued as the best anxiety app. Its main goal is to relieve anxiety, help sleep and boost motivation. This app has therapy options for kids too.
To learn more about mental health in Mexico and policies and actions to address it, read MBN’s analysis on the subject.