Statistics show that approximately 50% of the United States population will be diagnosed with a mental disorder within their lifetime, in addition to the population already living with a mental illness.
Mental health challenges affect individuals, their families, and the organizations with which they’re affiliated. One strategy that’s been devised to address such difficulties is Digital Mental Health. It involves the services provided via mobile technologies or online platforms to mitigate mental health problems. The introduction of this innovation is timely, considering the increased use of digital technology in the modern world.
Continue reading this article if you want to deepen your knowledge and understanding of digital mental health solutions, including the benefits that are in store for patients who utilize them.
Digital Mental Health Technologies
Numerous digital technologies have been designed to solve the mental health crisis. They include telemental health, the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT), and artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). Read on to learn more about these innovations.
- Telemental Health
Telemental health is a digital mental health solution dedicated to remotely providing mental health care services. This method is especially convenient for patients with busy schedules that limit them from seeking in-person care.
Telemental health solutions leverage videoconferencing tools, chat rooms, text messaging, blogs, and websites. They eliminate barriers that may hinder individuals from accessing mental health services. In addition, these solutions save time for practitioners and patients because commuting isn’t necessary to provide care.
Another benefit of this innovation is it eases stigma. For centuries, mental health patients have been subjected to stigma, making it difficult to seek care. Despite the significant progress achieved through mental health awareness, some patients still feel uncomfortable obtaining the help they need.
Thankfully, telemental health promotes privacy for patients looking for treatment for their illnesses. The virtual channels it offers ensure that the needs of each patient are met.
- Internet Of Medical Things (IoMT)
IoMT is a medical concept that incorporates smart technologies and devices to gather data to enhance individual care. Leveraging IoMT tools allows medical practitioners to automate data tracking partly or fully.
One effective IoMT tool in healthcare is the Internet of Bodies (IoB). It utilizes human bodies to gather medical data and promote healthy well-being among patients. IoB tools gather biometric, behavioral, and physiological data, which are stored, analyzed, and delivered to the end-users via a mobile app.
This concept is so wide and influences all aspects of healthcare, including mental health. An IoB innovation that directly influences mental health is moodables. These are wearables designed to boost one’s mood and enhance cognitive abilities. They also supplement medication and psychotherapy, enhancing the effectiveness of treatment.
Moodables are applied behind the ear. They generate waveforms that help the nervous system to attain peace and calm. This neurostimulation lasts about four hours after removing the patch. Such wearables are reusable, making them even more convenient. They’re also considered safe and efficient, and can be used by anyone over 18.
One of the advantages of IoMT is that it saves time. It minimizes the need for a commute, except when the case is so severe that it warrants a physical doctor’s appointment.
IoMT also promotes disease prevention. Patients using IoMT devices can track their health and detect potential risks early on. These monitoring capabilities allow them to modify their habits and lifestyle to avoid such threats.
In addition, IoMT tools limit meaningless doctor appointments, saving patients from incurring high costs. This is because the tools can automatically track one’s progress, so they only reach out to professionals when risk looms. These tools also gather extensive relevant data that are easily accessible to the practitioner, making appointments more productive. It ensures that patients get value for their money.
- AI And ML
Machine learning (ML) has been used in the healthcare industry for a while. Over the years, it’s been proven effective in identifying and predicting illnesses. In terms of mental health, ML has been leveraged to identify signs of depression and suicidal ideation patterns. This is possible through evaluating speech patterns and subtle voice changes that are too subtle to be recognized by a practitioner.
In addition, ML is evident in chatbots, which have been primarily used to assist patients with mental illness cope. These are devised to simulate human discussion with users via text or speech. These language processing systems can also strengthen lessons from in-person therapy sessions. For instance, a patient going through anxiety can interact with a chatbot and get relevant information on managing their symptoms.
Furthermore, AI and ML can be used to design unique algorithms that differentiate patient symptoms from one another. This can help doctors formulate a customized treatment plan for each patient to enhance effectiveness. Through ML algorithms, doctors have a chance to predict suicidal attempts more accurately using easily accessible data.
More notably, AI and ML can significantly reduce human error in mental health care. Algorithms have been proven to be effective in analyzing facial expressions and speech patterns to identify signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
In some cases, mental health practitioners may be so busy that they overlook the subtlest indicators of mental illness. Nevertheless, AI and ML tools can come in handy to remind physicians to zoom in on patients to avoid missing important signs.
Digital mental health aims to address mental health challenges and their impacts on individuals, families, and organizations conveniently and in ways that won’t cause a dent in a patient’s bank account. It covers mental health services provided via online platforms and mobile technologies. Many of such innovations exist to date, including telemental health, IoMT, and AI and ML.
Telemental health is a solution dedicated to providing remote mental health services to promote easy access among patients. Secondly, IoMT is a medical concept that utilizes smart technologies to gather data and enhance the well-being of patients. Lastly, AI and ML have been effectively used in the healthcare industry to identify and predict illnesses, answering the current mental health crisis.