Stephen Smith, CEO and founder of a company that caters to mental and behavioral health, is often asked about treatment of care. People in their country tell him, “I don’t have enough money for treatment, Smith. How can I get one? I have been struggling with my mental illness for some time now, but help never came for me. Where do I go? Is there hope for people like me?”
These are very vital questions, Smith says, as they emphasize a major, unresolved issue. But now, as we look into some specific trends in the field of technology, we can begin to answer their questions with practical resolutions slowly. There is hope for the future of mental and behavioral health. Here are some great projections as to why.
Projection #1. Virtual reality will assist in making mental health therapy more lucrative.
A lot of certified health professionals in America are now creating VR environments that are specific to their patients’ diagnoses and treatment, and the results have so far been promising. Virtual reality has greatly improved mental and behavioral therapy, as these health clinicians can now conveniently implement specific treatment into their practice. For instance, a patient who is afraid of flying can easily be guided by his doctor to overcome this fear by putting on a headset while riding a virtual plane initially, instead of encouraging him to travel in a real plane right away. For one, it is costly, and second, it is time-consuming. Although there need to be some safety precautions to be established before using virtual reality in mental health therapy, it is an exciting and encouraging idea.
Projection #2. Many people will soon benefit from free (or almost free) mental health treatment that is safe and clinically effective.
This can be owed to a massive amount of data collection that can be gathered through different types of software. Data can range from patient history and behavior, which is are very valuable to those who are into the research area, to the patient’s everyday routine, his lifestyle, and whatnot. The software industry is thus forced to provide free or very affordable treatment plans, as they can get more reliable data when more and more people utilize their technology. It would be a win-win situation – for the patient who wants to improve, for the software company that is looking to grow and profit in the long run, and for the mental health care field, which is aimed at convenient and accessible treatment plans.
Projection #3. Technology will encourage other certified peer supporters to offer more individuals availability to mental and behavioral treatment.
As of today, clinicians have trouble scheduling their treatments for each patient. However, with the help of certified peer supporters and the future of technology, they will soon be capable of seeing more patients with a lesser time of treatment needed because these peer supporters will assist their patient’s in-between sessions. For instance, rather than the ADHD specialist only able to see 30 patients monthly for about three sessions each, he may soon be capable of seeing 60 patients a month for one to two sessions each, since patients will learn to use the 24/7 support application by themselves.
Projection #4. The stigma of mental illness will slowly disappear through social media.
In India, particularly, the mental illness is so strong that there are a reported 50% of people who have not visited the doctor for diagnosis and evaluation. Through the emergence and popularity of smartphones, more information about mental illness is easily disseminated, encouraging people to come out and be vocal about their condition and even seeking help for it. The mentally ill and even those who don’t have mental illness will get to understand why it’s ‘okay not to be okay.’ Awareness will also be spread through mental health treatment companies for them to reach more users, and this will lead to more people living a mentally, physically, and emotionally healthier life.
Technology entrepreneurs should make it their passion and commitment to using their knowledge in solving vital problems, which is why they should make it their responsibility to transform and revolutionize the mental and behavioral health treatment system across the world. They have the power to change the lives of the mentally ill, so they must do something about it.