How Technology Is Helping Promote Equity in Mental Wellness

Every person has a right to proper mental healthcare, no matter their age, ethnicity, gender, financial status, or location. However, millions of people still lack access to essential health services, such as mental health treatments. Today, the advancement of technology is paving the way for equality in mental wellness.

Technology gives resources and cost-effective solutions to individuals in low-income countries and those who are physically unable to get mental health therapy. Here’s how tech continues to help people from different backgrounds meet their needs for mental health, from self-care applications to telehealth appointments.

Mental Wellness Apps (Free and Paid)

From diagnosis to treatments, technology supports people in almost all areas of mental wellness. Applications for self-care, self-assessment, and self-tracking related to mental health are widely available. They have been divided into the following groups:

  • Meditation and mindfulness apps
  • Mood tracking and journaling apps
  • Anxiety and stress management apps
  • Sleep improvement apps
  • Therapy and counseling apps

There is no discrimination based on ethnicity in mental health applications. While mental illness affects people of all races, it can also affect people in different ways depending on ethnicity and socioeconomic background. For this reason, there are numerous mental health services that are directed toward people of color with culturally relevant mental health resources.

For instance, the self-care app Shine was created with a focus on underrepresented groups. It offers useful resources for dealing with racial trauma. Technology also provides plenty of other methods to heal from trauma and improve mental health.

Fortunately, most applications for mental well-being are free, but some charge a paid subscription. Not everyone has the financial stability to purchase a wearable device like a Fitbit or pay for stress management applications. However, people from all social classes can practice mindfulness exercises for stress management with free apps like Headspace.

Online Therapy Sessions

The demand for therapy continues to rise, according to a New York Times survey, and often exceeds the number of available mental health professionals, leading to long wait lists. It’s one of the reasons why psychiatrists are among the highest-paid professionals. Face-to-face therapy can cost anywhere between $65 to $150 per session. Typically, you should attend three to four sessions every month, which can cost you several hundred dollars. In contrast, some online therapy services start at a fraction of that price.

Not everyone can access traditional therapy, especially those who live in rural areas or have disabilities. It also comes with additional expenses like transportation costs, which people who are struggling financially may not be able to afford. Furthermore, partly due to a lack of awareness, there aren’t as many mental health experts available in developing countries. People may hesitate to seek therapy because of cultural beliefs and values since certain communities may have negative views on mental healthcare. People from all backgrounds can support their mental well-being at home by using telehealth services.

Online Communities and Support Groups

There is stigma related to mental health, whether it comes from people’s families, communities, or even themselves. Because they are concerned about being treated unfairly, people may feel more comfortable speaking with anonymous people than mental health professionals. According to research by Deconstructing Stigma, adults and children in the Black community are more susceptible than White people to developing mental health issues. As a result, Jasmin Pierre—a mental health activist—developed the app The Safe Place to remove the stigmas related to mental health in the Black community and to make wellness options more accessible.

Moreover, support groups are formed of people who share similar issues, strengthening their bonds with one another. It can be difficult to locate support groups nearby, but it’s much simpler and more convenient online. You can join online support groups, chat rooms, and forums for mental health by creating an account on sites like 7 Cups. There are numerous online communities committed to specific subjects. Online support groups are available for dealing with a variety of concerns, including grief, parental challenges, and breakups. Because they are free, people from all socioeconomic backgrounds can access them.

Financial Funding for Mental Well-Being

You could have to pay out-of-pocket for your sessions with some therapists if they don’t accept insurance. Fortunately, most online counseling providers, like Talkspace, accept insurance. Some services allow patients unlimited therapy sessions through live video, audio, and chat. However, not all insurance providers offer mental health coverage, as insurers have no legal requirement to do so. In these cases, you might ask the provider of the online counseling service for financial assistance. BetterHelp is one of the providers that offer reduced session fees based on a client’s income and financial standing. It has its own admission procedure and aid requirements. The aid is available to people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations. These facilities are only one example of how technology has revolutionized mental health care.

Technology Helps Spread Awareness About Mental Illnesses

Many platforms, whether social media or online publications, encourage people to open up about their mental health problems. Wherever you are in the world, you may access resources to learn more about mental illnesses. The stigma surrounding mental health is being reduced thanks to individuals from many cultures sharing their personal stories online. For instance, Kanwal Ahmed, a Pakistani activist, has been posting first-person stories of women battling mental health issues. Technology has made it simpler to access crisis hotlines, helplines, and services for mental health, which helps contribute to the common notion that seeking assistance when you are dealing with a mental illness is completely normal.

Can Technology Really End Mental Health Discrimination?

There has been a dramatic rise in mental health awareness ever since technology began to be used in mental healthcare. The internet has given people a space to come together without facing discrimination, from informative videos about mental health to campaigns like #MentalHealthMatters. Certain communities may find it difficult to get traditional mental health care, particularly if the services aren’t personalized to their needs or if there are biases present in the system. Thankfully, the internet offers a variety of mental health resources making access to this care more equitable.

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