America's obesity epidemic has been at the forefront of science and medical conversations for years, but there may be a hidden epidemic taking root in our society, and new technological advances have the potential to bring it into the light.
The Mental Health Crisis
The murmuring that arises after an unexpected suicide or mass shooting has increased negative stereotypes around mental illness and masked the vastness of the real issue. In 2015 the National Institute of Mental Health reported that 1 in 5 American adults had lived with a diagnosable mental disorder in the last year. Younger Americans didn't fare any better with 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 having some experience with a seriously debilitating disorder.
Experts suspect that the true rate of mental illness may be vastly underreported. This is likely due to the shame of negative stereotypes, a limited knowledge of what qualifies as mental illness, and/or a lack of access to healthcare.
Fortunately - considering the large percentage of our population struggling with mental illness - doctors, therapists, and tech moguls are now working together to find ways to coordinate effective health programs for individuals and the team of professionals tasked with helping them.
- Mobile apps that provide coaching and accountability for physical and mental illness initiatives are becoming common. They can refer specialists, give advice, and even make rudimentary diagnoses. However, new technologies open up even more effective treatment options.
- The Beiwe Research Platform is working on technology that records phone usage patterns and utilizes statistical tools to understand and capture social and behavioral symptoms of mental illness in real-time.
- Even Google is joining this preemptive assault. Now when you search “clinical depression” on Google, a knowledge panel will open giving you the option to fill out a questionnaire to identify if another action is warranted.
The hope is that these new research tools, and others like them, will enable better analysis and treatment options that will lead to mental, physical, and emotional well-being for those suffering from mental illness.
If you are interested in learning more about this and related topics, visit the Mental Health section of our blog.
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