Did you know one in every five American adults experience mental health issues?
Also, one in every 25 Americans lives with a major mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or serious depression.
Mental health has been a rising concern for people around the globe for quite a while now. The ones especially vulnerable are young adults who are increasingly subjected to worldly pressures. There are a million reasons as to why there is an alarming increase in mental health patients in such a short span of time; increased performance pressure, pressure from parents, an increase in violence, and a degrading social landscape being some.
It is hard to miss that our lives are much easier in terms of survival and work but, we are still witnessing a rise in mental health cases. There are a lot of things being done in terms to get mental health resources made available to those who need help but is it enough? What we need to understand here is that mental illnesses require self-help as much as outside help. A therapist will only be able to help you if you would be willing to help yourself and this goes for all the resources being provided to us.
We have been given the gift of technology which has opened up new avenues in mental health support. Our mobile devices are all we need to seek the help we require; crisis centers are just a text or call away from anyone who is feeling vulnerable. Technology has enabled applications to engage with users and help them profoundly. There are hundreds and thousands of apps available across all operating systems and the number is growing exponentially.
Let’s look at a list of pros that mental health apps have brought to the table-
Convenience– With mobile apps, a patient can seek treatment anywhere and anytime. The ease of access plays a key role in any sort of illness, be it physical or mental. Mental health patients often experience symptoms and episodes that can restrict their physical movements at times. In such scenarios, mobile care can be very fruitful and save the patient from a lot of hassle. It is also an ideal option for people who are not very comfortable with in-person appointments and prefer the space provided by mobile care.
Anonymity– Disclosing a mental illness can be very hard for any individual, it may be because of the stigma attached to such illnesses or they may simply not be comfortable in sharing. Mobile care opportunities are a perfect means to maintain anonymity without having to compromise on care.
Increased service area– With mobile care facilities such as mental health apps, it has become easier for individuals living in remote areas to get access to better health support. These apps have also come to the aid of people during natural disasters or terrorist attacks and helped people manage stress.
Round the clock availability– Physical consultation is restricted in terms of availability as not all services can be availed round the clock. With mobile care, it has become easier for patients to get in touch with healthcare support regardless of the time restrictions.
The scope of app development to address mental health concerns is enormous and is not tapped to its full potential. There are numerous domains that are increasingly being used by people all over the world.
Let’s discuss some of the most popular domains to get a better idea-
These apps are one of the most trending apps on the app store and can significantly help any individual in combating their everyday woes. For instance, there are apps to help you meditate, release stress, help you sleep, manage anxiety, and more. Some of these apps also have software compliant with additional tools in your mobile device such as GPS to further enhance the experience.
Cognitive remediation apps
These apps, though often targeted towards individuals with serious mental illnesses, can also be used by individuals seeking to improve their thinking skills. These apps have a user-friendly interface that allows users to exercise mentally.
Skill development apps
These apps are more like games compared to other mental health apps and get users to watch educational videos and relay multiple support options. There are several apps in this domain which feature tracking; a user can take up new exercises and the app tracks their practice to help develop skills. These apps are ideal for anxiety management and dealing with stress.
These apps are structured like social platforms and offer interactions and engagement to its users. There are several apps that are basically virtual support groups that allow its users to interact with each other and share their experiences under the supervision of an expert. Then there are apps that offer guidance support by connecting patients with trained professionals for therapy options.
This is a fairly new domain and the apps are still in infancy stages. These apps harness data from the sensors built into your phone or can be connected with other smart gadgets that collect data and record movements, interactions, behavior at different times of day, and more. This data then helps the app build a comprehensive profile of the user that is monitored by professionals to suggest treatment options and track progress.
Technology has progressed out of its niche bounds in the healthcare industry and has researchers working together with engineers to build systems and apps that can significantly alter ineffective treatment methods. There are apps to help people quit smoking to manage PTSD and that’s just a trailer of what lies ahead in the future of health technology.
Another significant development in tech that has powered the health care sector is- Artificial Intelligence (AI). The increase in sophistication of AI and robotics has quadrupled the scope of healthcare facilities that can be provided to patients all around the world.
Here we have highlighted some of the ways AI is transforming our healthcare ecosystem-
AI and the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) are practically transforming the world in terms of maintaining a healthier lifestyle. They are not only increasing the ability of healthcare professionals but are enabling people to be in command of their health and lifestyle. AI has been empowering people to understand their daily patterns and helping them devise and adopt healthier strategies.
Detection of diseases
There are multiple heart diseases and various kinds of cancers that are being detected with the help of AI. The efficiency of mammograms has increased significantly which has led to a decrease in the number of unnecessary biopsies, all because of AI-powered tools. The rise in AI-driven wearables for heart patients has enabled them to constantly monitor their well-being without having to go in for regular checkups. AI is also being used to detect diseases in the stage of infancy and has helped in avoiding life-threatening episodes.
Expanding access to care
Artificial Intelligence can notably help mitigate the impact caused by a deficit of expert clinical staff in developing nations and remote regions. AI can efficiently take over diagnostic duties and decrease the workload of the overworked doctors in such areas. There are various AI imaging tools available to help assist doctors with clinical duties. These AI-powered tools have tremendous potential to increase access to healthcare and are as accurate as a human when it comes to diagnosing certain diseases.
Decision making and treatment
Aligning big health data to power predictive analytics was long on the list of priorities in terms of using AI to effectivize healthcare. AI is being used in pattern recognition for identifying patients who are at risk because of environmental, lifestyle, or genomic factors and supporting the clinical decision-making process to enhance the system altogether. Apart from scanning healthcare records, AI is also powering clinicians to comprehensively approach disease management. It is also being used in laboratories and hospitals to perform repetitive tasks and enhancing the productivity of the staff multifold.
Identifying infection patterns
Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern in today’s world. With the evolution of superbugs, the world has been witnessing a resistance to antibiotics and multi-drug treatments. In this setting, AI has enabled doctors and researchers around the globe to mark electronic health data and identify infection patterns. This can alter the time taken in the process notably and also enhance the accuracy of the findings.
Intelligent machines and devices
Smart devices have been transforming the healthcare scenario for a while now. AI has been facilitating machine learning and powering ICUs and other critical support systems to enhance the ability of monitoring patients. This has resulted in decreased cognitive burdens on physicians and allowed patients to receive better care and support.
Technological advancement especially in the field of Artificial Intelligence has enabled humans to increase the productivity of our health care systems substantially, be it mental health or physical health. We at Saffron Tech are committed to helping the healthcare industry progress and offer a variety of solutions in terms of App development for various platforms and tech.