2020 Look at Mental Health & Tech

How to use technology to promote a healthy state of mind. 

What is mental health, and why is it important?

Mental health is a combination of our psychological, emotional and social satisfaction. No matter the stage of life we’re in, mental health plays an important role in our overall well-being. It affects how we feel on a daily basis, the decisions we make, our relationships, and more.

With the incorporation of technology in our daily lives, we’ve seen how it can damage mental health. Alternatively, we’ve been able to create tools to support a healthy state of mind. Let’s explore technology’s role in mental health and how it can be used to hurt or help our well-being. 

 

How technology plays a damaging role in our mental health

A study on nature.com shows declining mental health in teens (most notably teen girls), starting in 2012. This is around the time adolescents started using social media on a daily basis. The problem isn’t the social media platforms, it’s how users interact with the platforms. 

It’s hard to determine if social media is the primary cause of teen girls’ declining mental health. Though, we do know there seems to be a correlation between the two factors. The added expectations, peer pressure to use social media and even the pressure to receive a certain amount of responses on each post all take a toll on young minds.

Younger generations aren’t the only ones impacted by technology. A mental health study for individuals over age 50 conducted by the CDC suggests that this age group is primarily doing okay. Although, individuals over age 65 are more likely to not have the emotional support they need. Are we perhaps unintentionally leaving an entire age group out of the conversation online?

 

The pandemic’s impact on mental health 

With social distancing, self-quarantining and a stressful news cycle impacting us each in different ways, many people are feeling more overwhelmed than ever.

The Internet can be a great resource for those seeking to understand these feelings and how to cope with them. For example, check out this article on Healthline about self-talk. The Internet can also be a place to connect with loved ones online. Schedule a virtual happy hour, or FaceTime your friends to bond safely while social distancing. 

Due to the pandemic, more at-home workout videos are circulating on the web. The telehealth industry is racing to ensure patients have a safe way to connect with healthcare professionals. Even large companies are coming together to develop bonding tools for their employees. 

Although we’re all physically separated right now because of the pandemic, our mental and emotional connection can grow stronger using the power of the Internet.

 

How we can use technology to our advantage 

Mental Health Apps

Choose from all types of mental health apps to support your journey. Here are a few of our favorites.

Calm 

$12.99/mo. for iOS or Android  

A meditation app. There are plenty of free meditations to try. From quick breathing exercises to full-body scans for ultimate comfort. Try the premium version and get access to even more meditations. Learn about meditation at your own pace and even include your whole family. 

Headspace

$12.99/mo. or $69.99 year for iOS or Android

A meditation, sleep, and wellness app. Start the day with mini-meditations, release stress with “Move Mode” or set the perfect nightly ambiance. Plus, access articles for more information to support you on your journey. 

Breathe, Think, Do With Sesame

Free for iOS 

An app to teach mindfulness, problem solving and breathing exercises for youngsters. Kids 4 and up can start the learning skills to keep their mind grounded when things start to get overwhelming.

MindShift 

Free for iOS and Android 

An app designed to help teens and young adults cope with anxiety. The app is used as a tool to help change the way teens and young adults perceive their anxiety. Rather than running away from feeling anxious, use MindShift to learn how to overcome the experience. 

CBT Thought Record Diary 

Free for iOS and Android 

A diary app. This thought diary uses CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) techniques which aim to help you alter negative thought or emotional patterns. Jot down the emotions, thoughts or situations that make you feel uncomfortable. 

 

Telehealth Doctor Visits 

Ever since social distancing became part of our everyday lives, doctors and medical practices are adapting to telehealth alternatives to treat patients. Best of all, these meetings are in the comfort of your own home. Telehealth provides more privacy than traditional office visits and may help you relax when exploring uncomfortable areas.

 

Social Media

Yes. Even social media. These platforms provide an easy way to connect with your loved ones. You’ll also have the power to share important, factual information to everyone you know. 

 

The bottom line

Technology surrounds us. As users of the web, it’s our responsibility to ensure that positive, helpful information is being circulated. It may be hard to get out of the house right now, but that doesn’t mean connecting with relatives, friends or health professionals is out of the question. There are also mental health apps you can use in addition to learning and connecting with others. Whatever combination feels the best is the right combination for you.