Historically, mental illness had been treated as a taboo and swept under the carpet.
In Nigeria today, studies have shown that there is still a high level of ignorance about mental health issues despite offline and offline awareness.
The commonness of mental health issues combined with the lack of access to care and more advanced technology has sparked a growing interest in the use of technology to enhance and expand the health care condition.
Asides from the aforementioned, people who suffer from mental health conditions can share their stories and form a support group online owing to technology.
As society is becoming more aware of the issues of mental illness, technology is playing an important part in providing solutions to preserve and improve the condition.
In this article, we will be highlighting ways by which technology has been assisting in the treatment of common mental health conditions.
How can technology contribute to improved mental health?
Although technology is not a perfect solution for the lack of mental health care in Nigeria, its use can enhance its care especially in rural areas where health care providers are scarce.
Technology can assist access people that are difficult to reach due to stigma or geographical barriers, as the case may be.
What’s more, treatment using technology is convenient because it can happen anytime, anywhere.
There are applications that can be used to facilitate access to healthcare services thereby lowering cost as compared to conventional care.
Below are different kinds of technology that can be used to gain access to mental health care services.
Online support groups
People can get emotional support and advice from online support groups.
They provide an option for people who would rather remain anonymous in their quest for mental health treatment.
Members of the group share experiences, provide educational resources and keep tabs on the progress of members.
Many people who suffer mental health issues are, more often than not, hesitant to seek in-person services. So, they get help anonymously.
That is why there are applications that allow people have access to mental health professionals and doctors, and helps these professionals monitor patients’ adherence to treatment and progress.
Many of these mobile applications are dedicated to improving mental health with a focus on substance abuse, depression and anxiety.
Tele-health enables people who need healthcare services to call in or video chat consultants and health care providers.
This is an economical form of mental health care service as it just requires call credit or internet data to get professional help.
This may be a new form of mental health care service but it is quickly becoming crucial in the health field.
Virtual reality can help patients suffering from depression, anxiety, and other disorders by using virtual reality headsets which can help desensitize patients suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
It desensitizes them by recreating their personal triggers thereby helping them develop coping mechanisms.
Technology can be used alongside face-to-face counseling to improve mental health as opposed to being made a substitution.
Technology, through digital platforms, allow the development of deeper working relationships with patients especially younger patients who are upwardly mobile.
Don’t miss important articles during the week. Subscribe to techbuild.africa weekly digest for updates.