Mental illness is a growing concern.  Not only is the number of cases high – about 26% of American adults suffer from some type of mental illness, but also because of the negative impact these conditions can have on behavior, overall health and wellness, and the ability to be productive in daily activities, whether those are at work, in school, or at home.

A significant concern is that, globally, nearly two-thirds of people with mental health conditions do not receive professional treatment.  While there may be others, lack of access and fear of the stigma attached to mental health care are two primary reasons so many people fail to seek help.

There is reason for optimism, however, as technology is creating new opportunities in mental health services that can help overcome these obstacles.  By leveraging connected health solutions, mental health providers have an opportunity to increase access to services, while reducing the fear of stigmatization.

Access

Telehealth services can leverage smartphones, tablets, and other video-enabled devices to allow mental health professionals to deliver treatment to patients across distances.  This allows them to provide services to patients in underserved areas or who have difficulty getting to providers’ offices.  The use of telehealth services also can help reduce the impact of a shortage of professionals by connecting patients with available professionals, regardless of location.

Convenience

Using connected health technologies and scheduling applications or patient portals, patients are able to easily schedule for convenient times.  Because telehealth can eliminate geographical barriers, patients can schedule appointments during lunch breaks, evenings, or any other time that makes sense, making it easier for patients to seek treatment.

Anonymity

By using connected health solutions to receive mental health treatment, patients are able to work with professionals in private environments, such as their homes or offices, without having to worry about anyone knowing they are receiving help.  This can help reduce the effect of stigma attached to mental health and drive more patients to seek the treatment they need.

Early Intervention

The combination of convenience, access, and anonymity may help patients seek care sooner than they otherwise may have, allowing them to consult professionals at early stages to diagnose conditions and initiate treatment before they impact their lives.

Support –

Connected health technologies can enable ongoing support to supplement in-person treatment.  Remote patient monitoring technology can provide key statistics that may prompt patients to seek therapy or may be used to trigger intervention from professionals if heart rate, blood pressure, or other vital signs reach certain thresholds, indicating high levels of anxiety of other issues.  Patients can also use technology for professional support between scheduled visits if they suddenly feel overwhelmed, depressed or exhibit other symptoms that are negatively impacting the mental health.

Patients should have access to the mental health care they need, and they should be able to do it without fear of repercussions.  With such wide acceptance of mobile devices, applications, online services, and other modern technologies in people’s daily lives, connected health is in a position to fill the gap in mental health services that currently exists.

To learn more about how connected health solutions can help deliver care to patients, connect with us here.