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The 2020 pandemic is a game changer for mental health care

Lockdown Anxiety and Technology

  • The new virus has forced the entire world in an unprecedented lockdown.
  • In these times of a looming unknown future, existential fear and separation from friends and family, millions are resorting to online help to deal with their anxieties. 
  • Demand for apps for managing stress has skyrocketed, with many App makers making their premium content free.
  • There are changes in regulation and relaxation of the constraints that earlier made it impossible to meet digitally with a mental health doctor. 
  • Telehealth and online mental health services are seeing a transition due to a large spike in counseling requests.

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The 2020 pandemic is a game changer for mental health care

The 2020 pandemic is a game changer for mental health care

https://www.technologyreview.com/s/615390/coronavirus-online-therapy-mental-health-app-teletherapy/

technologyreview.com

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Key Ideas

Lockdown Anxiety and Technology

  • The new virus has forced the entire world in an unprecedented lockdown.
  • In these times of a looming unknown future, existential fear and separation from friends and family, millions are resorting to online help to deal with their anxieties. 
  • Demand for apps for managing stress has skyrocketed, with many App makers making their premium content free.
  • There are changes in regulation and relaxation of the constraints that earlier made it impossible to meet digitally with a mental health doctor. 
  • Telehealth and online mental health services are seeing a transition due to a large spike in counseling requests.

Get Everything Online

Online mental health therapies may make people stick to it longer, but it’s long-term benefits are still questionable, according to a study.

This mandatory Quarantine mode, which can last for weeks or months, is making us more dependent on anything and everything online, with smartphones being the potential gateway to online mental health care.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Telemedicine and telehealth
Telemedicine and telehealth

Telemedicine and telehealth involve remote-health-care technologies and services, known as "virtual care."

While virtual care played some role in the health-care industry, 2020 le...

Virtual healthcare recognized
  • Telemedicine can refer to the setup that allows workers in a large hospital to assist in emergency procedures from a distant support structure.
  • Telehealth uses virtual interactions between individual doctors and patients. You may have a bad sore throat and download the telehealth app, where you will be connected to a physician who can examine you and prescribe medicine.

Fifty to seventy percent of visits to the doctor's office could be replaced by remote monitoring and checkups.

Potential disadvantages of virtual health care

Telemedicine has been a hard sell in some areas.

  • Many rural clinics and community hospitals fear that their already inadequate medical staffing and the revenues generated from on-site procedures will be further diminished by remote medicine.
  • Old and poor patients who may need care the most can't afford smartphones or broadband connectivity.
  • Until recently, many people were unaware that the service existed, while others didn't trust an anonymous doctor.
  • Many people want to be in the physical presence of their physicians, believing the quality of virtual care is inferior.

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Stay informed by trusted sources

Facts will minimize your fear. There are two sources to use for managing fear in the new virus response: The World Health Organization and your national authority.

With all the...

Always return to yourself

Many consultants have headaches and nausea when they deal with stress and emotion. There are also times when there is nothing they can do, for example, provide beds, masks, and other needed supplies.

A psychological consultant advises that you should be aware of yourself, and distinguish which emotions are yours, which are the patients, and which are your empathy.

The effects of being isolated

Consider unexpected risks associated with the response to the outbreak, for example, poor mental health that is related to social isolation. Steps to take into account:

  • Staying connected with your social and family networks via technology
  • Keeping your daily routines as much as possible
  • Exercising regularly and practicing habits that you enjoy and find relaxing
  • Seeking practical, credible information at specific times of the day.

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Exhausted In Isolation
Exhausted In Isolation

Due to the lockdown, tens of millions of people are sheltered at home, all across the world. There is a lack of routine, emotional insecurity, poor nutrition and alcohol/substance abuse, leading to...

Sun Therapy

If you can go outside, even for a walk around your home, make use of that. It is extremely important to get some sunlight absorption in your body, as it prevents depression and sluggishness while ensuring a healthy level of melatonin and serotonin in your brain.

Stay In The Routine

Having a new routine can be refreshing for a few days but it gets hard to maintain it.

It is imperative that we stick to a routine, shower, and dress every day, preferably waking up early, and at the same time.

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Telehealth
Telehealth

Medical services are always going to be at high demand, no matter the area or the circumstances. One way to ensure that people have faster access to medical services, especially in times of crisis,...

Telehealth services

Among the most known telehealth services:

  • patient portal: you have the possibility to keep track of your health record while being able to communicate securely with your
    doctor
  • virtual doctor appointments: extremely useful for persons who do not need an in-person physical examination
  • store and forward: this kind of service enables the electronic transmission of medical documents
  • remote patient monitoring: it allows your doctor to monitor your health from the comfort of your home by using wearable devices
  • mobile health: through mobile health applications, you can keep better track of your health.
Telehealth and its benefits

Among the benefits of the telehealth:

  • better access to medical care: especially for individuals with mobility issues or living far from a doctor
  • improves care quality
  • reduces care cost: you do not need to travel anymore
  • increases patient's satisfaction: especially by saving time.

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Not backed up by science
Not backed up by science

While popular, researchers say there is a serious lack of evidence to back up mindfulness apps, even though they are increasingly perceived as proven treatments for mental health. 

Seeking scientific validation

A handful of studies have been published on the efficacy of mindfulness apps, thanks in part to Headspace, one of the most popular apps in the field. In hopes of getting its app scientifically validated, the organization has partnered on more than 60 studies with 35 academic institutions. In the meantime, in lieu of research proving that apps work, marketers tend to draw misleading, but attractive claims.

The paradox of mindfulness apps

Mindfulness disrupts unhelpful habits. If you get distracted easily or have addictions, mindfulness helps curb these habits. But, in contrast, apps become popular and profitable by getting users lightly addicted to repetitive use. So, can an app really treat addiction, or is it inherently part of the problem? As of now, we don’t know the answer to that question.

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Surviving Screens In Isolation

There are many people self-isolating due to the escalating pandemic, with their phones being the essential link to the outside world. Technology becomes a double-edged sword, connecting and isol...

The Distraction Spiral

Technology, just like the mind, is a very good slave, but a bad master. The technologies by itself are life-giving and useful, but if we are spending the whole day on Twitter, fighting with whoever we don’t agree with, we are ruining our psychological health.

We tend to spiral into the news black hole for hours, but just looking at the front page of the New York Times or Washington Post once or twice a day should be enough.

Accidental Benefits Of Technology

Technology is neutral by itself, and how we use that tool matters. 

  • An email is a great tool, which completely transformed how an office works, though it wasn’t designed for offices.
  • Similarly, the Facebook Like button was designed as a shortcut to writing a good comment, but it unexpectedly turned out to be a tool to measure the popularity of a post.

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Changes you may see

If and when you return to your office after the pandemic, you'll probably notice some changes.

  • The doors of the building may open automatically, so you don't have to touch the handl...
Working from home

Before the pandemic, only 4 percent of the US workforce worked from home at least half the time. However, the trend of working from home had been gaining momentum for years.

It is estimated that within a couple of years, 30% of people will work from home multiple days per week.

Continued remote work
  • Before the pandemic, a lot of company management and leaders were skeptical regarding remote work. But the skepticism will go away because companies recognize that remote work does work.
  • The economic impact of the pandemic will likely force employers to cut costs. They may reduce their rent by letting workers work from home instead of layoffs.
  • Employers had to spend money on new technology and equipment to work from home - a departure from the norm.
  • Employees themselves are also spending more money to create better home offices.

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The rise of the anxiety economy

Two Kickstarter campaigns set out to raise money to create products that claimed to relieve stress. Both made millions, but more importantly: They helped to create an entire economy out of t...

Anxiety - the most common mental illness

Anxiety affects 18.1 percent of Americans each year and almost one-third of Americans over their lifetimes.

There might be many probable causes, for instance, social media or toxins. Or, we might be overdiagnosing anxiety. Either way, those who suffer from anxiety want a solution, and they are turning to digital therapists,  apps, and videos for relief. This makes the person who suffers from anxiety the most ideal consumer for this era's most marketable products.

The Fidget Cube

The Fidget Cube became the 10th most funded project of all time. That was because of a few factors:

  • The fidget spinner is a product that we can relate to because most of us feel the need to fidget.
  • A well-produced satirical video went viral
  • It was a novelty of an entirely new kind of product.

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A panic attack

The current pandemic is affecting the entire globe. As a result, many people may be experiencing panic attacks for the first time.

A panic attack happens suddenly, with short-lived disabl...

The body's response

A perceived threat may activate the body's physiological "fight or flight" response, similar to what your body would do if you're near a tiger. Your heart starts racing and pumping blood, so your muscles have the fuel to run or fight. 

Panic attacks are relatively common. One in four Americans will have at least one panic attack in their lives. But the pandemic seems to be causing many people to suffer panic attacks within a short time.

Panic attack symptoms

The tightening of the chest and breathing difficulties are often confused for symptoms of the new virus.

Panic attacks come on suddenly and typically last only 15 to 20 minutes, while symptoms of the virus emerge over a few days. With the virus, you will also have other symptoms, like a fever and a cough.

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