10/28 “Technology and the Future of Mental Health Treatment” – Deirdre Kelshaw

In “Technology and the Future of Mental Health Treatment,” the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) argues that technology has introduced a much greater ability to access mental health support through new apps and numbers to crisis centers. However, this technology comes with much uncertainty in terms of having a lack of industry regulation and little knowledge on app effectiveness– leading consumers to be unsure of which programs to use to fit their needs.

To show this, the NIMH discusses the potential pros and cons of mental health apps. For example, while these apps provide 24-hour service at a low cost and at easy convenience, they deal with issues such as privacy (apps deal with very personal information and privacy isn’t always guaranteed) and understanding if apps work for all mental health conditions or not (I personally doubt one app can be useful for every person’s mental health diagnosis). In fact, according to the NIMH, there is currently no national standard for evaluating the effectiveness of mental health apps– it’s hard to know and trust what’s most useful for one’s needs. 

This article made me reflect on an app called Headspace, which Lehigh’s PeerHealth organization has helped to make free to all students. The app has too many features for anyone to count. One can choose from hundreds of meditation exercises, “sleep casts,” workouts, and music to better focus. The app deals with navigating anger, sadness, grief, money management, growth, mindfulness and so much more. The list goes on. I’ve personally used it and have enjoyed it, whether it be to exercise or help getting out of a funk. However, I personally don’t think it’s as effective as talking to another human being and I’m not sure if it truly can work for every mental health issue as it seems to advertise. I think a lot more work goes into bettering mental health. Yet, it offers great convenience to those who can’t afford regular therapy, can’t fit it into their schedules, or don’t feel comfortable sharing their feelings to another person. This brings me to wonder, where is the research behind these apps coming from? Are they from real mental health experts or regular individuals? Depending on the answer and the lack of regulation when it comes to these apps, are these types of platforms doing more harm or more good? I think it truly depends.

2 thoughts on “10/28 “Technology and the Future of Mental Health Treatment” – Deirdre Kelshaw

  1. This is an interesting take on mental health as it pertains to technology. Personally, before I read this I thought that it was going to be the ways in which technology effects our mental health, but you bring up some really great points. As someone who believes that mental health should be recognized and held to a high standard in terms of treatment, I am not entirely sure that technology should be a medium for it either. I think that the best way to get the help someone needs is face to face, and if technology has any part of it, it should be over zoom or FaceTime. For financial purposes, I agree this is a great way to help those who can’t afford in person help, but I also think that’s an entire issue in and of itself, in that the opportunity to seek treatment should be available to everyone, whether it’s through technology or in the real world.

  2. This article seems really interesting and I am curious to explore Headspace. I personally have been wanting to try the app, but I haven’t found a way to access it for free, until Lehigh. In-person therapy has benefited a lot of people I know, but I think an app that allows you to access on-demand counseling is extremely helpful. I have found myself feeling frustrated or angry and wanted to turn to an app to watch a video or hear a recording to help with the emotions. Apps like Headspace and Peloton Meditation can allow people to get instantaneous guidance and while I don’t think they should replace in-person counseling, I think they are extremely useful.

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