People wish to live a meaningful life even while suffering from mental health problems. Adam Clifford, a clinical nurse specialist at Nottinghamshire Healthcare, wrote Using Video Technology to Manage Mental Health for Learning Disability Practice, he states that forty percent of the population has additional mental health problems. Majority of this forty percent is embarrassed or uncomfortable in accessing mental health care (2014). In A Rural Youth Consumer Perspective of Technology to Enhance Face-to-Face Mental Health Services from Journal Of Child & Family Studies written by Simone Orlowski who is affiliated with Flinders Human Behavior & Health Research Unit at Flinders University, explains that mental health treatment that is aimed towards anxiety and depression is based on four main functions; information provision, screening, assessment, and monitoring (Lawn, S., Antezana, G., Venning, A., Winsall, M., Bidargaddi, N., & Matthews, B. 2016). Implementing technology in health care services can offer advantages and disadvantages for people with mental health issues. Technology will positively impact mental health care services, by making it more accessible for people with limited financial flexibility and transportation, young adults with mental illnesses will feel more comfortable seeking help or advice, and it will give a better and more accurate experience for both the patient and professional.
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Limited financial flexibility and availability of transport:
Mental health care support is a vital aid which is not accessible to some people because of financial costs and transportation needs. The promise and the reality: a mental health workforce perspective on technology-enhanced youth mental health service delivery, an article written by Simone Orlowski from BMC Health Services Research, states thattechnology will make mental health services more accessible for young adults who have limited financial flexibility or do not have means of transport (2016). The combination of limited financial and transportation aid gives restricted opportunities for mental health care services not located at home. Recent developments from using online resources and mobile technologies to support mental health care has shown improvement for people with restricted financial and transportation support. Turvey, C. L, Head of the Department of Psychiatry at Carver College of Medicine wrote Recent developments in the use of online resources and mobile technologies to support mental health care for the International Review Of Psychiatry, he suggests house based health-related mobile applications and web-based electronic mental health problems as solutions for people who have limited transportation and financials (Roberts, L. J. 2015).
Young adults feel uncomfortable seeking help or advice:
20% of young Australians between the ages of fifteen to nineteen suffer from the symptoms of mental illness and 60% of those teens are uncomfortable seeking help or advice for their mental illness (Orlowski. S, 2016). A Rural Youth Consumer Perspective of Technology to Enhance Face-to-Face Mental Health Services written by Sharon Lawn, the director of the Flinders Human Behaviour and Health Research Unit at Flinders University, expresses that the increase in percentage of teens who feel uncomfortable asking for help decreases engagement for youth towards mental health services, technology can increase engagement by using similar methods used in teen’s day to day life (Journal Of Child & Family Studies. Orlowski, S., Antezana, G., Venning, A., Winsall, M., Bidargaddi, N., & Matthews, B. 2016). Young adults constantly use their cellphones and always have them by their side, Turvey from The International Review of Psychiatry states the proposition given for mobile apps in mental health is based on the ideal that they will always be with the patient. If the mobile device with the app is with them all the time it can help promote their clinical goals for example a person with a chronic psychotic disorder would get a notification at medication time. Mild to moderate depression and anxiety can be treated through another method of self-guided or professional facilitated therapies that are delivered via internet. Lastly, the part that would appeal most to young adults is that patients can use these applications and programs in private with no interactions with professionals (Turvey, C. L., Roberts, L. J. 2015).
Better experience for patient and the professional
Implementing technology can improve the experience for both the patient and professional. Technology can give a more accurate treatment without completely replacing face to face interactions. It can be implemented through predictive analytics, increased consumer input, self-management, and inclusive stakeholder communication, these reasons for implementing technology into mental health services are under researched (Orlowski, S., Lawn, S., Antezana, G., Venning, A., Winsall, M., Bidargaddi, N., & Matthews, B. 2016). Extra sensory perception an article from Scientific American written by Gershon Dublon, a Ph.D. student at the M.I.T. media lab and Joseph A. Paradiso, an associate professor of media arts and sciences at the Media Lab from the stimulus packet helps piece together how technology will help mental health care services. Different sensors described by Dublon and Paradiso will change how comfortable patients feel in an environment or how professionals can give the patient a better experience. Temperature sensors can determine the temperature and relative humidity in the room as measure by dense sensor network. Sound sensors will help a patient recognize the movement and sound in a room, so it can be adjusted to their preference. Overall, the temperature and sound sensors will give the professional and patient better control of the environment. The data collected by these sensors can be used as references in the future to experience data from the past in multiple perspectives. Guarav Singh, head of the department of psychiatry at the Medical College Hospital and Research Center in Uttar Pradesh, India, wrote Use of Mobile Phone Technology to Improve follow-up at a Community Mental Health Clinic: A Randomized Control Trial published by Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, in this article he emits the fact that missed appointments are common in outpatient care for mental health-care services. Even with the need of further treatment 16-60% will not follow up with their appointments. The suggested method for improving follow up in outpatient care is through short message service (SMS) and voice calls via telephone.
The mental health workforce fears that technology will have a negative effect on their services believes that it will disclose privacy and confidentiality from issues within the technology programs (Orlowski, S., Lawn, S., Antezana, G., Venning, A., Winsall, M., Bidargaddi, N., & Matthews, B. 2016). Technology is believed to increase the workload for professionals and uphold disengagement from face-to-face therapy. Relating to the idea of face-to-face therapy, in The Historian as Participant from The Historian and the World of the Twentieth Century written by Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was an American historian, social critic, and public intellectual, eyewitness history is considered valuable for historians. In this situation eyewitness history and face-to-face therapy hold a connection in the importance of how eyewitnesses can more accurately identify critical factors in the process of these events. Eyewitness history holds a different perspective to history, it shows the way people think and feel. When implementing technology into mental health care services and decreasing the amount of face-to-face contact, the input of emotions given by the professional is eliminated.
The implementation of technology can be approached from different angles such as implementation programs for mental health care services. Simone Orlowski states that most technology solutions include mental health self-help programs which are more independent for the participant. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy interventions (iCBT’s) which treats mild to moderate mental health problems such as depression and anxiety or mobile apps for self-management and self-treatment which will help limit interactions with health professionals to little or none. People with more severe cases of mental problems will struggle with self-help programs and will need to consult with professionals. Telepscychiatry which is meant for more severe cases that would require input from professionals via video conferences. Telepscychiatry can allow patients with limited financial abilities and limited technology availability to obtain therapy affordable to them (Lawn, S., Matthews, B., Venning, A., Wyld, K., Jones, G., & … Bidargaddi, N. 2016). People in programs like Telepscychiatry are limited to the variety of mental health professionals available for face-to-face therapy. Mobile apps are one of the aforementioned solutions for mental health care services. The functions supported by mobile apps, online health programs, or personal health records overlap in information and abilities. The three technological programs give standard mental health scales or electronic messages reminders to promote health behavior. Mobile apps are the preferred program which offer functions such as targeted educational content, structured mental health assessments, symptom or behavior logs, and context sensing or unobtrusive monitoring (Turvey, C. L., & Roberts, L. J. 2015).
Technology will improve mental health care services for young adults who feel uncomfortable seeking help, people with constrained financial and transporting utilities, and it will improve the course of treatment for both patient and professional.The mental health workforce is opposed to the implementation of technology because complications in patient confidentiality and privacy. Technology self-help programs via internet and mobile apps will be available for people suffering from depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Telepscychiatry will be available for people who cannot benefit from self-help programs. The limitations to these solutions are the level the patients conditions and the decreased expertise of professionals that only work with face-to-face patients. The implementation of these programs with their limitations will improve mental health care services, but not completely rewire how it works.
Clifford, A. (2014). Using video technology to manage mental health. Learning Disability Practice, 17(7), 24-28.
Dublon, G., & Paradiso, J. A. (2014, July). Extra sensory perception. Scientific American, 38-41.
Orlowski, S., Lawn, S., Matthews, B., Venning, A., Wyld, K., Jones, G., & … Bidargaddi, N. (2016). The promise and the reality: a mental health workforce perspective on technology-enhanced youth mental health service delivery. BMC Health Services Research, 161-12. doi:10.1186/s12913-016-1790-y
Orlowski, S., Lawn, S., Antezana, G., Venning, A., Winsall, M., Bidargaddi, N., & Matthews, B. (2016). A Rural Youth Consumer Perspective of Technology to Enhance Face-to-Face Mental Health Services. Journal Of Child & Family Studies, 25(10), 3066-3075. doi:10.1007/s10826-016-0472-z
Schlesinger, A., Jr. (1971). The historian as participant. In J. Grenville (Author), The historian and the world of the twentieth century (Spring ed., Vol. 100, pp. 339-358).
Singh, G., Manjunatha, N., Rao, S., Shashidhara, H. N., Moirangthem, S., Madegowda, R. K., & … Varghese, M. (2017). Use of Mobile Phone Technology to Improve follow-up at a Community Mental Health Clinic: A Randomized Control Trial. Indian Journal Of Psychological Medicine, 39(3), 276-280. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.207325
Turvey, C. L., & Roberts, L. J. (2015). Recent developments in the use of online resources and mobile technologies to support mental health care. International Review of Psychiatry, 27(6), 547-557. doi:10.3109/09540261.2015.1087975
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