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Digital Mental Health Care: A New Healthcare Trend

Healthcare technologies are on a surge and are receiving tremendous global recognition. These technologies not only make healthcare services more accessible and viable but also increase their efficiency. Several new and highly advanced healthcare technologies have transformed the healthcare sector for good.

The segment for mental health-related services in the healthcare sector is no exception in this matter. This blog will thoroughly cover the ways in which technology has boosted the mental health service sector and has facilitated its growth.

Let’s start the blog by discussing the growing scope and role of mental health awareness in everyday life.

The Boom in Mental Health Awareness

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The recent pandemic has made everyone, from the young to the elderly, more aware of the importance of mental well-being. Moreover, even before the COVID pandemic, the importance of mental health wellness was undeniably present and has only grown in recent years.

The present generation is more aware and conscious of the importance of mental well-being. As a result, the number of mental health service seekers has drastically grown over the years. Owing to this factor, mental health care service providers, that is, psychiatrists and psychotherapists, are under tremendous pressure to meet this demand.

Understanding the tremendous scope of technology in the healthcare sector, these mental health service professionals have shifted to technology to provide their services. But, you must be wondering how is it possible to provide mental health care services digitally, right? Well, let us tell you that this idea has existed for years, but it was only recently that its implementation took a surge. Let’s find out more about the digital shift in mental health care services in the upcoming section.

Digitalization in Mental Health Services

Digitalization is essentially the shift from conventional to technology-based approaches for better process efficiency and quality. At present, one can digitalize almost anything and everything, from selling channels to service offerings and business processes.

In terms of mental health care, digitalization has enabled professionals in the industry to enhance the quality of their services and treatments by using tech-based approaches. Nowadays, it is becoming popular to treat mental health disorders digitally for better treatment efficiency. To explain, the market size for digital mental health services is expected to exceed USD 939.40 billion by the year 2030.

Be it a consultation, a therapy session, or psychiatric treatment, digital technology for mental health services is capable of delivering up to all of these needs and even beyond them. Moreover, in the present era of mental health awareness, it has become necessary to provide high-end mental health services to ensure optimum quality of life.

However, what exactly can be digitalized in the mental health care sector? The following section will provide an answer to this question.

What Can Be Digitalized in Mental Health Care?

As we mentioned before, digital technology is capable of digitalizing almost anything and everything in the mental health care service sector. Here are a few of the many applications of digitalization in the mental health sector.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy forms an integral part of the services related to mental health care. Numerous people enroll in psychotherapy and counseling to address their mental health concerns and find a solution to them. However, the idea of psychotherapy is highly limited to visiting a therapist in their office and attending the session, or at least it was until recent times.

With the arrival of technology-driven solutions for mental health care, it has now become possible for psychologists and counselors to provide therapy sessions digitally. To explain, now people can avail counseling from anywhere at any time and address their mental health concerns.

Usually, online psychotherapy is conducted in the form of highly confidential video meetings. Overall, online psychotherapy is an excellent medium to make counseling more available to people.

Psychiatric Consultations

Certain mental health concerns require professional diagnosis and treatment from a psychiatrist. However, it isn’t always a viable option for patients to visit a psychiatrist, due to which many patients abandon their plan of getting treatment altogether. Utilizing technology has enabled psychiatrists to efficiently overcome this challenge.

Psychiatric institutions like clinics and hospitals are utilizing digital technologies like mobile applications and are creating a doctor appointment booking app for their Psychiatrists. Patients can use these apps to get an online consultation with ease.

What’s more? These mobile applications also enable patients to book a consultation with their psychiatrist in advance efficiently. This way, the patients can save the time they would otherwise spend in queues in the hospital/ clinic.

Drug Management

Certain mental health care treatments involve using drugs and medications. However, it is difficult for physicians to track whether or not the patients are following the right course of medication. As a result, there is a need for a solution that allows psychiatrists to monitor drug doses for their patients.

Digital technology facilitates this need and is a highly reliable solution. By utilizing technology-based solutions, healthcare institutions can ensure optimum drug management for their patients. Moreover, technology also enables physicians as well as patients to monitor drug doses and will prevent overdosage.

It is worth noting that certain drug management apps also act as reminders for patients to take their routine doses. This way, technology can facilitate seamless and efficient treatment of various mental health concerns.

Mental Health Monitoring

One of the most essential parts of every treatment regarding mental health is monitoring the patients. This monitoring can be on the basis of the patient’s mood, progress, thoughts, and even stress levels. However, it is also true that being present around the patient 24/7 is impractical and unviable for mental health professionals.

Using technology in this aspect and automating mental health monitoring is an idea worth a million dollars. To elaborate, modern-day technology is highly smart and is capable of high-end mental health tracking. One of the most popular examples of this tracking is fitness wearables, where patients can monitor their stress levels and heart rate. To add to that, this vital data is digitally stored for review and diagnosis.

For example, people suffering from anxiety can use digital technology to track their anxiety levels. This tracking can be done based on stress levels, heart rate, breathing patterns, etc. The device, upon identifying high levels of anxiety, can create an alarm and alert patients for the same.

Self-care Practices

Mental health professionals follow a holistic approach to treating mental health concerns. One of many approaches to treating mental health is self-care, a practice widely preached nowadays. However, people often refrain from practicing self-care, as the process can be tiring. Moreover, the self-care practices that a person can implement in their life are often limited, further reducing the scope of this approach.

However, the latest self-care practices are technology-based. Some of the most popular examples of self-care technology are meditation applications, self-awareness quizzes, mindfulness e-books, etc. Using these technologies enables people to stay in alignment with their mental well-being and practice mental wellness.

These are a few ways in which digital technology can be implemented in mental health-related services. Utilizing these technologies has tremendous benefits for mental health service professionals as well as common people seeking mental health services. 

However, it is still not clear how digital technology-based mental health services are better than conventional ones. Let’s find the answer to this question in the upcoming section.

5 Reasons Why It Is a Good Idea to Digitalize Mental Health-related Services

More Accessibility

Technology is known to make healthcare more accessible and reachable for all sections of society. Integrating technology-based solutions with your mental health care services can enable you to reach people from all across the globe and provide your offerings to them.

Overall, you can use the platform to provide your services digitally through devices like mobile applications and websites in the form of digital consultation and therapy sessions. This will, in turn, make mental healthcare services easily accessible to people.

Predictive Analysis

Psychoanalysis forms an important part of diagnosing a person and lays the foundation for further medical prognosis and treatment. However, conducting a mental analysis is a far more complex process compared to physical analysis, as the process takes more time and effort.

In this situation utilizing technology can be a great idea to ease the analysis process. By integrating high-end technologies like artificial intelligence, one can easily get predictive psychoanalysis of a person and cut short on the diagnosis and treatment possibilities.

AI is a technology based on machine learning and therefore has high precision, making its implementation in mental health services an excellent idea for predictive analysis.

Treatment Efficiency

Modern-day technologies are innovative and smart and have replaced humans in numerous sectors. One of the most prominent examples of the technology is evident in the healthcare sector, where physicians use technology for treatment efficiency.

The mental health service sector is no exception and has tremendous potential to utilize technology for better process efficiency. Integrating tech-based processes ensures that the treatment is fast and patient-focused.

This is possible with various technologies like IoT, AI, mobile applications, and more that increase the overall efficiency of digital mental health care services and make them truly smart.

High Comfort

One of the major challenges of a person seeking psychotherapy is exposure to a new environment. As a result, many people refrain from availing mental health-related services as they are uncomfortable talking openly in a new environment.

Digitalization of mental health services has enabled therapists and psychiatrists to efficiently overcome this challenge, as now people can avail therapy and other services related to mental health from the comfort of their homes. This makes conducting therapy and counseling easy and comfortable for not only patients but also professionals.

Affordable

In many cases, people who wish to avail mental health care services are unable to do so due to the financial unaffordability of the services. As a result, even though the demand for mental health services is high, their utilization is limited to economic viability.

Digitalization has played a key role in this aspect and has made mental health services more affordable and economically accessible. For example, digital technology enables therapists to offer psychotherapy services digitally, i.e., through video calls. As a result, there is no infrastructure required to conduct therapy sessions digitally.

This feature of digital technology helps reduce the overall cost of therapy and makes it more economical. This aspect is often missing in traditional approaches, where infrastructure costs are inevitable.

These are a few of the many ways in which digital technology has benefitted the mental health service sector. Now that you know why it is a good idea to digitalize mental health services, the next natural question is, ‘what are the technologies that benefit mental health service sector?’ Let’s find the answer to this question in detail in the upcoming section.

Technologies that Aid Digitalization of Mental Health Services

Mobile Applications

Mobile apps are one of the most prominent technologies for digitalizing mental health care services. This technology is popular among all generations and enables mental health care professionals to efficiently digitalize a large part of their services and improve their quality.

Earlier, we discussed the role of creating a doctor appointment booking app to get psychiatric consultations and diagnoses. This was one of many implementations that a mobile application has in the mental health care service sector. Similar mobile applications are widely used across the globe to provide online psychotherapy and encourage self-care practices.

Speaking factually, the market size for mental health care mobile applications was valued at USD 4.2 billion in 2022. This makes mobile app-integrated mental health care services an excellent idea for boosting the efficiency and accessibility of the services and making them available to a wider audience.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is a high-end technology that can effortlessly boost the mental health care service sector. AI is based on machine learning, a concept that has vast scope in the healthcare sector.

However, the implementation of this technology is rare in the healthcare industry, as many healthcare institutions, as well as service providers, are unaware of the tremendous potential that this technology possesses.

Artificial intelligence can make it easy for mental health care service providers to get a predictive analysis. The machine learning aspect of this technology utilizes its smart capabilities to learn from the fed data and increase the overall efficiency of the treatment.

This enables mental health care service professionals to get precise and reliable psychoanalysis, medical diagnosis, and even information on treatment possibilities.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality has transformed the way the healthcare sector operates. In terms of mental health care services, VR technology has enabled psychiatrists and psychologists to deliver world-class and efficient mental health-related services digitally.

One of the most common implementations of virtual reality technology is evident in the psychotherapy aspect of mental health care, where psychologists utilize VR-integrated headsets to conduct counseling sessions. This concept enables people to get therapy and counseling from anywhere with a realistic experience.

Moreover, VR has made it easy to practice self-care in everyday life. With concepts like VR-based digital meditation and other practices, people can use VR to take better care of their mental health and practice mental well-being.

Summing It Up

Digital technology has tremendous scope and potential in the mental health service sector. At present, numerous mental health service professionals like psychologists, counselors, and psychiatrists are looking for ways to digitalize their offerings and improve the global paradigm for the mental health service sector.

By implementing technology in their services, mental health professionals can contribute towards a globally enhanced mental health quality and make it more accessible, affordable, and, overall, highly efficient.

All you need to do is create a strategically planned foundation and lay a roadmap for implementation, and you can offer seamless and top-notch digital mental health services to your clients with ease.

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