10 Ways Technology Can Benefit Mental Health

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My millennial daughters were part of the first generation ever to grow up with computers, cell phones, and the Internet. I appreciate the incredible technological advances but as a parent, I experienced challenges that seem to go hand-in-hand with electronics.

It was a constant battle to monitor screen time. I wanted to make sure that texting, posting, and searching the web didn’t devour too many hours of the day. I had concerns about online safety, cyber bullying, and the effects social media would have on my girls. I knew that constantly comparing themselves to others on Instagram and Facebook could lead to low self-esteem, loneliness, and depression.

Much attention has been given to the negative aspects of technology and mental health.

But what about the positive side?

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As the vast tech world continues to expand, there are numerous ways it can benefit mental health. Recently I learned about one of those ways.

There’s a new type of online chat group, called a Slack community. Slack stands for “Searchable Log for All Conversation and Knowledge.” Entrepreneurs Zach Schleien and David Markovich are co-founders of a free Slack group for people with mental health issues. It’s called 18percent. The name comes from the 18 percent of Americans living with mental illness.

Zach was inspired to start 18percent after a close friend took his own life after battling schizoaffective disorder/bipolar type 1. Zach said he never knew how much his friend Louis was suffering, as Louis never spoke about his struggles.

Zach wanted to create a space on the Internet where people could talk openly about their mental health problems anonymously and help each other, in the form of a peer-to-peer global support group. He said some users don’t want to discuss their issues with family and friends but they feel comfortable in an anonymous chat group.

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Thousands of online tools are available to support those living with mental illness. Technology can offer convenience, 24-hour service, and anonymity. For example:

  • People in the United States can text the Crisis Text Line at 741741 anytime and talk with a Crisis Counselor.
  • Google has teamed up with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) to offer a mental health screening questionnaire for U.S. residents who search for “depression” on their cell phone.
  • Apps are targeted to people with conditions like anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction, and schizophrenia. The apps are designed to help manage symptoms and track moods.
  • Mindfulness and meditation apps (like Headspace, Calm, and The Mindfulness App) can help lower stress.
  • Blogging and writing can be therapeutic. It’s freeing to write down thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and release them out into cyberspace. Can be anonymous. Creativity can flow; try poetry, list goals and dreams, write a letter to your mental illness. The blogging community can be a wonderful source of encouragement and support.
  • People can talk anonymously in online chat groups, like 18percent, 7 Cups, and NAMI Discussion Groups.
  • Online therapy, such as BetterHelp and 7 Cups, offer professional counseling services. Some mental health professionals give one-on-one therapy through video and text.
  • Computerized Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CCBT) is one of the new frontiers in psychotherapy, offering online CBT to treat depression, anxiety, and other behavioral health problems. Advantages are that it can be delivered on-demand and is less expensive than visiting a therapist.
  • Scientists are testing Virtual Reality as a tool for exposure therapy.
  • Online fundraising can benefit mental health organizations. Following the death of his friend, Zach Schleien not only started the Slack community, 18percent, but he raised $10,000 for NAMI through an online crowdfunding platform called CaringCrowd. Zach’s goal is to raise $30,000 for NAMI in May, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.

Mental health technology can bring amazing opportunities. But this is a new area and experts warn consumers to be careful about trusting an app or program. The National Institute of Mental Health says, “there are no national standards for evaluating the effectiveness of mental health apps that are available.” The NIMH suggests people ask a trusted health care provider for recommendations.

Technology has made enormous strides I didn’t dream were possible when my daughters were little. At least now that Mackenzie and Talee are in their twenties and independent, I don’t have to worry about constantly monitoring screen time.

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75 thoughts on “10 Ways Technology Can Benefit Mental Health

  1. It’s so true that technology has many benefits in helping people feel less alone. There are so many great apps out there and I think what Zach set up sounds amazing. Even WP enables people to reach out to others all over the world, people with mental illnesses that might otherwise feel isolated and alone. Wonderful post Jenny. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It’s a nice starting point for building relationships which would hopefully go on to be in real life as well. For me dating is one of the scariest things so online dating allows me to build slowly and even test the waters with little hints about my anxiety.

    Like everything it’s about finding a balance and not dwelling on the negative but more the positives.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Pingback: 10 Ways Technology Can Benefit Mental Health — Peace from Panic – Lakes Counseling Center, LLC

  4. If you don’t mind answering a question. I’m going nuts trying to make the “comment box” show at the bottom of each post. I can’t seem to find the right setting. I’ve read all the directions and followed to tutorial with no luck. I just found the only 2 comments I have but they don’t seem to be attached to a post. I’m confused and going to bed. 😂 Thanks for you time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • How frustrating! I’m sorry, but I’m really not sure. I started my blog 3 years ago, and I don’t remember setting up the comment box. I feel like it was there automatically. Not sure if you’ve already done this, but I think there’s a WP chat, where you can get help. Best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for replying, I found it today during my lunch break. There is a comment box to allow comments on each post, like where tags/categories are listed. I changed my settings in Discussion to allow comments too. I can see comments now, such a Newbie move. 🤣 It’s all good now.

        Liked by 1 person

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    • That’s wonderful that your daughter has chosen this subject for her project! Pros and cons, for sure. Thanks so much for visiting here and reading. Best of luck for your daughter on her project! Take care, Jenny

      Like

  10. i love what you share with us and you are allowing us to self promote too this is a very great way to build good trust
    between web owner and reader kindly share few more post like this one if possible thank you so match

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: 10 Ways Technology Can Benefit Mental Health — Peace from Panic | Blogging About STEM

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