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Managing Mental Health With Technology

Mental health. There is a depth and width to these two simple words. As developed nations fight to bring recognition and acceptance to it, developing nations are facing the same uphill battle that has always followed mental health matters. Evidence suggests that 450 million people worldwide have some mental illness, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from health professionals. This could be due to stigma, discrimination and neglect. A World Health Organization (WHO) report estimates the global cost of mental illness at nearly $2.5 trillion (two-thirds in indirect costs) in 2010, with a projected increase to over $6 trillion by 2030. The isolation and fear generated by the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the urgent need for the acceptance and treatment for mental health. Ironically, because it has intensified the mental illnesses that have arisen, that has at least brought public and global discussions on mental health to the fore.

Technology For Mental Health

In the same way that people have reached out to each other in their isolation, people dealing with mental health issues have also started using technology that is available to them to help themselves. One of these ways is through blogs and personal web domains. There is professional and enterprise WordPress hosting available, and it’s being utilized by many to create personal blogs, including mental health blogs. WordPress is home to a variety of collaborative and group blogs on mental health. People who are dealing with and managing mental health issues come together to form online communities using WordPress to share their experiences and to reach out. These collaborative blogs serve as both a resource as well as connection points for the people who are struggling with similar issues. At the basic and personal level, they let sufferers know that they are not alone and that what they are struggling with does not make them unacceptable. On an educational level, they are getting the message out there that mental health is an important and serious issue that is faced by millions of people in every nation on this planet.

Access to these blogs is free and helps those who are not in a position to pay or access physical help for mental health care. Around 25% of countries have no mental health legislation. Currently, more than 33% of countries allocate less than 1% of their total health budgets to mental health, with another 33% spending just 1% of their budgets on mental health. This is despite the fact that mental health is symbiotic with physical health. If your mind is not in the right place, you cannot live well physically. Because these blogs exist, the people who are struggling are able to use them as a resource even if they do not or are not able to contribute articles as members. The blogs serve as a primary hub for information, helps with knowledge-sharing, and answers frequently-asked questions that people have about mental health, including symptoms, causes, struggles and even the appropriate use of medications.

Data Collection And Security

From the technological point of view, the anecdotal nature of these blogs become part of a data collection that can be used to help the campaign for the importance of mental health to gain traction. Technology can quantitatively collect information such as location, issues and challenges. Some of these sites have content management systems (CMS) that allow for instant translation options. Many of these sites also have links that allow patients to check their own moods and conditions, with prompts and advice for the appropriate corrective actions. These data can in turn, be used to empower the individuals, by giving them workable and doable insights into patterns of behavior that might otherwise not be detected. Data on these patterns can be used to alert people to the need for self-management and to make the necessary changes in behavior before the patterns and the associated symptoms become more severe.

One of the most important aspects of technology use today, especially when it pertains to mental health is the issue of digital security. User safety and confidentiality is of utmost importance and a reliable CMS would be able to ensure that. Because of the stigma that still follows mental health sufferers, sharing and connecting online gives people a sense of anonymity that allows for safety in places and situations that require it. It is also a good first step for people who have avoided seeking help for their mental health issues. This includes people who are in remote areas or who live in places where mental health care is not available. Many of the users of these blogs and sites may live in circumstances where knowledge of their mental health conditions may be dangerous to their physical being and a strong and resilient digital security can actually save their lives.

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