Prioritizing Your Mental Health: 5 Tech Solutions
Technology seems to be solving a myriad of problems these days, from keeping you organized to tracking your fitness and physical health to providing you with plenty of entertainment. And now, it’s helping you with one of the most important aspects of your life: your mental health.
These tools, devices, and software encourage you to incorporate productive wellness activities into your schedule, give you access to therapy without you even having to leave your house, and even track aspects of your psychological well-being. Get ready for them to help you achieve the peace and tranquility you so desperately crave.
Mental health apps have proven to be an effective tool for managing stress, anxiety, and more. They’re convenient and accessible on the go, and many of them are even free or have free versions.
There are Headspace and Calm for meditation and mindfulness, Talkspace for therapy and stress relief, and Moodnotes for allowing you to track and assess your moods. While serious conditions will require the support of a mental health professional, these apps can give you a boost at the very least. They can also be highly effective when used in conjunction with therapy.
Speaking of therapy, it can be extremely expensive, not to mention inaccessible, for some people in certain areas. It can also be difficult for working professionals to take time out of their busy schedules to make appointments with therapists, many of whom have limited availability. But technology has a solution. Through a range of platforms, including video conferencing and texting, patients can connect with licensed therapists digitally at their convenience.
One service that makes this possible is BetterHelp. The platform boasts that it’s “the world’s largest network of licensed, accredited, and experienced counselors,” offering therapy for issues including depression, trauma, grief, anxiety, and more. You can communicate with your therapist according to your schedule, without even leaving your home.
Online support groups
As with therapy, seeking out support in-person for issues such as addiction, depression, and grief can be intimidating. Thanks to the magic of the internet, people can maintain their anonymity while still getting help and guidance from others going through the same struggles they are.
For example, Turn2Me offers online support groups for people dealing with issues such as suicidal thoughts and feelings and depression. The groups, geared toward people suffering from different conditions, are free to book and run by qualified professionals
One unique tool for helping people with mental health disorders or struggles is virtual reality (VR). Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET), for example, immerses patients in simulated environments. It’s a technological take on traditional exposure therapy, which is sometimes used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects people who have experienced trauma and have become fearful of being exposed to the stimuli that caused it.
Through exposure therapy, patients are expected to repeatedly confront the thing that makes them afraid until it carries less weight. In the case of PTSD, however, exposing the sufferer to the stimulus would be unacceptable or even dangerous.
With VR, a headset or other device will immerse the individual in a virtual environment that allows them to confront the source of their PTSD. For example, a veteran could “experience” the horrors of war until they become desensitized to their triggers.
Technology has also made it easier to deliver biofeedback, information about how your body is behaving that enables you to better regulate certain functions. The Pip is a biofeedback device that allows you to track and manage your stress.
You simply hold the device between your fingers, and the companion app will visually and auditorily display data about your fluctuating stress levels, evaluating whether you’re relaxed or on edge. You can also see your stress levels as they change over time.
Tools like apps, online therapy, and support groups, VR, and biofeedback devices are ideal for helping you assess your stress and other conditions and even cope with challenges in your life. If you’re facing serious mental health concerns, however, you should seek the help of a qualified professional, because technology alone may not be enough of a solution. Often, these tools are most effective when combined with the support of a licensed mental health professional.
If you are in crisis thinking of harming yourself, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline immediately.
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