Dr. Peter Baldwin, a family, and relationship clinical researcher at the Black Dog Institute says that technology is bringing a new and improved approach on how we study mental health. Their institute even established living laboratories where they can get critical insights from the mobile devices of people around the world to come up with innovations dedicated to keeping them happy and healthy.
According to him, they even study people’s social media posts. These serve as their guide into creating models for the risks in mental health. They also use these data as their basis to diversify their innovation portfolio.
With the rise of the digital age, individuals are now taking a more active role to avoid mental health complications through the use of technology. People focus on inventing machines and other technology to help manage the psychological well-being. Here are some examples of the latest technological innovations created to address mental health disorders.
Muse is a headband whose goal is to record the brain’s electrical rhythms. Alongside this is a smartphone app where you can read these data and give you real-time advice and suggestions on how to reach a calm state. Using Muse on a daily basis can help improve the mood, control stress, and avoid distractibility.
Robots may not have emotions and feelings, but they can act as therapists at times. Jonathan Gratch, USC Professor and Director for Virtual Humans Research, introduced an advanced robot which can converse with clients.
“Ultimately the goal is to try to elicit indicators of depression, and part of our research shows that people disclose more to this kind of technology than they might when they’re talking to strangers,” Gratch said.
MyBivy is a kind of smartwatch which are tailor-fitted for military veterans experiencing PTSD. This device collects the body’s rhythms during sleep to determine whether the patient has night terrors or any sleep difficulty. These data are then sent to virtual assistant doctors so that it can send message triggers to the patient’s family.
Teletherapy And Telemedicine
Mobile phones and computer enable both telemedicine and teletherapy. Those with mental health can now easily access therapies while they are at their homes, offices, or wherever they are. In most cases, these telemedicine startups also create a community where patients can seek support. They also incorporate a feature where the clients can speak to a doctor or any licensed professional via a video system.
Elyse 28 is a wearable for women that looks like a jewelry piece. The device serves as a wellness coach that guides the user with different life aspects—from nutrition to mental health wellness to physical health and even stress management.
Woebot is a kind of chatbot integrated into Facebook Messenger. The goal of this artificial intelligence is to check the user daily for it to be able to gather data. It uses these data as a way to “learn” his or her emotional profile. From then, the bot will create a personalized treatment for the patient through cognitive behavioral therapy.
Some people’s stressors have a connection to their relationships with the individuals around them. If you are not capable of determining which social relations have positive and negative effects on you, pplkpr will suit you!
This device is a wristband wearable combined with a smartphone app. It uses the user’s data input, GPS, and heart rate variability to track the client’s relationship trend with people. After analyzing the data, pplkpr sends a “relationship report” to show which relationships are good and bad for your mental health.
RetinasVR is an anxiety management platform where the users can conquer they phobias, social anxiety disorder, and PTSD through exposure therapy. For experts, virtual reality is useful in building immersive environments to expose the clients to anxiety-inducing situations without worsening their condition. They say that this technology is safe since it is easily controllable to be able to tailor it to the patient’s standard.
Do you know that video games, particularly attention control training games, can improve those with PTSD? One example of this is Hellblade. It is a cinematic video game which features a protagonist, Senua, who helps the players deal with their depression and anxiety. The camera sits behind Senua as she fights in the underworld.
If you think that it is like any other game, you’re wrong. The creatures Senua are fighting with are the psychotic manifestations of her anxiety and depression. What’s good about this game is that the web game developers also consult professionals, such as Paul Fletcher who is a Health Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge, regarding mental health issues.
While technological innovations in the mental health area still lag compared to the physical health field, there is still a vast improvement on its offerings. Hopefully, creators focus more on this so more people can access and benefit from these mental health programs.