Technology game-changer in mental health care

Petaling Jaya, Associate Professor Dr Fauzia Mohd Saad, a psychologist and counselor at Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris, said the use of technology will soon aid mental health diagnosis.

He said innovations such as artificial intelligence-powered predictive analytics will enable quicker intervention and revolutionize the provision of mental health care.

Precision medicine is beginning to live up to its promise as technology allows individualized treatment regimens to be customized.

This means that therapeutic methods will be closely matched to each patient’s genetic profile and demands.

Beyond such innovations, digital mental health tools allow access to care and bridge the gap in access and affordability, Fauzia said.

He also said the tools will help reduce stigma around mental health, widen access to treatment for disadvantaged groups, and promote a comprehensive approach to mental wellness.

He said that in the modern mental health landscape, advanced technological tools such as teletherapy apps and online counseling platforms are transforming the delivery of care.

Teletherapy apps bridge distance barriers and enable remote counseling sessions, while online platforms provide structured counseling environments.

Mental health tracking apps help individuals monitor their well-being, while real-time monitoring helps physicians optimize treatment and enhance personalized mental health care.

Fauzia said therapeutic devices have been integrated into clinical settings to virtually replicate traditional medicine and aid diagnosis through digital assessment.

He said digital interventions in mental health are carefully designed to meet the multifaceted and individual nature of such conditions.

Machine learning algorithms sift through data to analyze mental health conditions to detect trends and details unique to each individual’s mental health profile.

This personalized approach ensures that users receive targeted interventions that are tailored to their specific needs and promote a more effective therapeutic experience.

However, Fauzia said barriers to equitable access to mental health technology include digital literacy gaps, socioeconomic differences, and internet limitations.

To counter these, he said, efforts should be made to emphasize education, subsidize technology expenses and strengthen internet infrastructure.

Clinical psychologist Dr Joel Low said digital interventions, including mobile apps and online platforms, have revolutionized the landscape of mental health services.

They provide unparalleled convenience, reduce traditional barriers, and ensure more individuals can access vital mental health resources.

However, legal issues such as verifying a user’s age still remain, as therapy services typically mandate parental consent for those under 18.

Despite such barriers, Lo said, digital platforms have bridged the geographic gap and now provide benefits even to people in remote areas who previously did not have access to physicians.

He also said that digital interventions have proven beneficial for the provision of mental health care, adding that integrating technology into therapy primarily increases access and streamlines logistical tasks.

While face-to-face interactions foster deeper relationships, the convenience and accessibility provided by technology are undeniable advantages in modern therapeutic practices.

He said data security and privacy are the most important factors when incorporating technology into mental health therapy.

Many businesses adopt benchmarks such as the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 to ensure the highest level of data security.

As technology evolves, maintaining this trust becomes even more important and protecting information on digital platforms requires constant vigilance and security.

While emerging research highlights the effectiveness of technology-based mental health interventions, Lo said the personal nature of therapy means preferences for digital versus traditional methods vary between therapists and patients.

Recognizing this diversity emphasizes that despite technological advances, mental health care is not one-size-fits-all.

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