With 1.54 million people in contact with mental health services by the end of January 2022, health services need to embrace digital services to cater to as many people as possible.
In 2020, the UK government committed to a program that would digitize mental health service providers by 2024. Here, mountain biking today explores the benefits of a digital health system and its influence on mental health care.
Tobias Alpsten, Founder and CEO of myGP, discussed advances in mental health technology:
“The data shows us that repeat ordering of prescriptions is a rapidly growing area. Notably, nearly 50% of medication reminders set in the myGP app are for mental health medications, such as antidepressants.
“We know that many patients using the myGP app are of working age and lead very busy lives, so convenience is key when it comes to repeat ordering and delivery of prescriptions. is applied to the field of mental health, there is often a negative stigma, which means that a patient may prefer ordering these medications online rather than in person.This is where online prescription ordering and home delivery are of significant value to patients”
Focus on areas where needs are not yet met
A key area for improvement is support for young people with mental health issues. While the average funding for an adult is £225, funding per child is only £14 to £191. Between April and June last year, 190,271 people aged 0-18 were referred to child and adolescent mental health services, a 134% increase over the previous year. With this demand comes long waiting lists, with the average wait time for this group to access services ranging from 8 to 82 days.
However, these problems are not limited to young people. In general, 18 weeks is the maximum wait time for consultant-led mental health services, but time is running out. All cases differ, with some being more extreme than others, so waiting for an appointment cannot be considered a solution.
Fortunately, mental health technology exists to help those facing long waiting lists. For instance. the NHS prescription delivery service can help those struggling to leave their homes. In addition to that, it can be useful for ongoing medications, scheduling appointments to seek medical advice, and video consultations for those who cannot physically attend an appointment.
Sometimes a visit to the GP is not always necessary, and there may be other points of community care that will help. The app can direct users to these points, helping to reduce long waiting lists by allowing people in extreme cases to be seen more quickly.
With this mental health technology, older adults, less well-resourced youth, and geographically disadvantaged people who will struggle to make appointments can have much easier access to mental health services.
Advantages for physiological aid
To help people dealing with mental health issues, therapy modes and digital resources can aid their recovery. SilverCloud Health conducted research on digital cognitive behavioral therapy and found that more than half of patients with anxiety and depression recovered after just three months.
The Togetherall digital mental health services app is a secure online community where app users can help each other while remaining anonymous. As the network is run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by practitioners, users are protected. There are also self-help courses and guides to choose from. Togetherall allows individuals to express emotions by drawing or uploading pictures, and they can also find information to understand their feelings in depth.
People who need services may be reluctant to contact them because of the stigma surrounding mental health. By providing a clinically safe online space, the amount of distress experienced can be reduced through mental health technologies and therefore prevent further harm to that person.
For example, some people may feel uncomfortable meeting a GP in person. myGP offers video consultations and accessible healthcare services to create a safe space for people. Appointments and services are available anytime, anywhere. This could be a breakthrough for those who have been hesitant to find proper medical advice.
Potential for further development of the app
Using techniques such as Acceptance Commitment Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, many apps have been created to help people. For those suffering from anxiety and panic attacks, PanicShield acts as a visual aid by showing calming patterns to get the sufferer to breathe in time. In addition to this, the Stay Alive suicide prevention resource aims to improve well-being and includes a safety plan, a storage box for important photos and memories, breathing exercises and strategies for staying grounded when you you feel overwhelmed.
Given the progression of health technologies so far, we will no doubt continue to see more and more innovative ways to help people struggling with mental health issues.