After completing a Master of Arts in Counseling degree, individuals may choose to work as mental health counselors – people who help clients living with varying mental health and/or interpersonal problems. For example, a psychiatric counselor might meet in the morning with a bereaved woman who recently lost her husband, and then in the afternoon with a 20-year-old living with an anxiety disorder. The role is challenging and rewarding and requires understanding and expertise across the full spectrum of mental health issues.
Given the ubiquity of technology in daily life—particularly the Internet and Internet-based platforms such as social media and smartphone apps—mental health counselors working today are likely to encounter clients facing such issues. do, which may be directly or indirectly connected to the use. digital media. There is no doubt that the Internet and social media platforms such as Facebook have had a remarkable impact, according to Dr. Igor Pantik, who wrote the literature review “Online Social Networking and Mental Health” published by the US National Library of Medicine. The way people communicate.
Pantic also pointed out that several recent studies have found a connection between the use of social media and certain psychological problems, including anxiety and depression. However, Pantic emphasizes that the studies are by no means conclusive and that efforts to understand the connection between mental health and technology are in their infancy.
Nevertheless, it is useful for mental health counselors to have an understanding of the research and gain insight into the impact of technology on mental health that extends to positive effects. After all, downsides aside, technology continues to improve many aspects of daily life for the better, and the field of mental health is no exception: there are a number of observable areas where technological advances have put consumers in control of their minds. Helped to take Healthcare in a positive way.
Technology: a force for good?
Writing for The Guardian, journalist Conor Farrington pointed out how mental health care still receives a remarkable lack of funding from international governments, despite progress in mental health. For example, Farrington pointed out that in industrialized countries such as the United States and Great Britain, spending per capita for mental health care is just over $33, just under £33. This amount is much less in developing countries. Accordingly, Farrington argued that technology holds promise as a means of improving access to mental health care, particularly in countries where such services are a priority.
Many Ways Technology Is Improving Mental Health Care Lena H. Sun explained writes for the Los Angeles Times, and it is primarily through platforms such as smartphones and computer-based apps that provide services and information to customers. can help provide. more cost-effective method. For example, Sun explained that in addition to smartphone apps that promote mental health, there are now platforms that allow patients to complete cognitive behavioral therapy courses online. In its article, the Sun outlines a UK-based service known as Big White Wall, which is supported by the UK government-funded National Health Service. Big White Wall is an online platform that enables users living with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression to manage their symptoms from home through tools such as educational resources, online conversations, and virtual classes on mental health issues. Big White Wall’s effectiveness is distinctive – The Sun reports on a 2009 study that found a large proportion of the service’s users – around 95 percent – saw an improvement in their symptoms.
How can advisors leverage technology?
In addition to promoting smartphone apps and other Internet services that can help people access programs like the Big White Wall, mental health counselors can play a significant role in facilitating access to these services. Can be used to help improve overall mental health. As opposed to being hired as a substitute, the technology can be used in conjunction with individual consultations. Counselors may also find that digital platforms allow for the development of deeper working relationships with clients, especially younger clients who are used to using technology on a daily basis. Bethany Bay, writing in an article for Counseling Today, interviewed Sara Spiegelhoff, a counselor in Syracuse, NY, who elaborated on this important point:
“I believe mental health technology resources are excellent tools to support traditional counseling services and a way for counselors to reach a larger demographic than we generally serve,” on an individual basis. Students are quicker to check Facebook and Twitter statuses than their email, so using social media is a way for us to promote and distribute information about healthy lifestyles and outreach events, for example, wine During the outreach program, we encouraged students to download the free Blood Alcohol Calculator app. We also offer free Mindfulness Meditation MP3s via iTunes. I find MP3s to be a great resource as I share them with clients in sessions I am able to present, talk about their experiences listening to and practicing meditation, and then develop a treatment plan that includes the use of their meditation outside of the counseling session.”
mental health Advisors can also use the platform to connect with clients who may be located in underserved or rural areas and unable to travel for in-person meetings. As Farrington explained, some studies, including one from Oxford University, have found that text messages and phone calls can be effective ways for counselors to connect with clients. Additionally, telehealth platforms, which include instant messaging or video calling, have already proven useful in primary care settings to help counselors reach clients. For example, Rob Reinhart, writing for Counseling Today, interviewed Tasha Holland-Kornege, a counseling professional who provides counseling to clients living with HIV primarily through a messaging platform, including video and audio calling options.
Reinhardt writes in a separate article published by Tame Your Practice about how the use of telemedicine platforms in mental health counseling has proven beneficial in several ways. Perhaps most importantly, Reinhardt cited a study by the University of Zurich researchers, as detailed by Science Daily, which found that counseling done online can actually be more effective than face-to-face sessions. The researchers studied two groups of clients – one group received therapy in person and the other received therapy via a telemedicine platform. The researchers found that clients who received online counseling sessions actually experienced better outcomes—53 percent reported that their depression had decreased, compared to 50 percent of people in the group who received the same amount of counseling. Other advantages include the fact that it is inexpensive and allows a wider net of clients to be seen and treated, particularly those who are unable to access mental health services in person, whether due to geography, funding issues such as lack of confidence, or social anxiety disorder.
However, there is a need for clarification. Although counselors may indeed use online technologies to assist in the counseling process or to provide counseling services, they must always follow ethical guidelines for the use of technologies. These guidelines can be found in the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics and the National Board for Certified Counselors website. In addition, advisers are required by law to be licensed in the places where their clients live.
Can technology have a negative impact on mental health?
Although the use of technology can have a positive impact in terms of helping clients manage and treat certain mental disorders, some studies have shown that the use of technology in general – and the Internet in particular – can actually affect mental health. perhaps related to development. Mental conditions, such as anxiety and depression in certain individuals. As noted by Pentic, while more research is needed in this area, it is useful to take a closer look at what has been published so far on the subject:
As described by Dr. Romeo Vitelli in an article published by Psychology Today, research has shown that Internet addiction, especially among younger demographics such as teenagers, is becoming a notable problem. Vitelli explained that internet addiction disorder shares many similar features compared to other types of addiction, such as withdrawal symptoms when online access is stopped. While the Internet can be a good agent in terms of education and strengthening interpersonal relationships, Internet addiction can be problematic because it can have a negative impact on academic success and the ability to communicate effectively in person. Vitali said research has also found a link between some mental illnesses and Internet addiction, including depression, low self-esteem, and loneliness.
The connection between social media use and mental illness
In his literature review, Pentic points out how several studies have shown a link between depression and the use of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Pantic cautions that much more research is needed before the conclusions of the above studies can be widely accepted as fact in the counseling community. Nevertheless, the results are worth investigating. Pantik reports on a 2013 study that found young adults who frequently used the social network Facebook reported feeling less happy, possibly due to increased use of the social platform. Patrick also pointed to a study that he personally found among high school students, the rate of depression was higher among those who regularly used social media.
Pantic offered some possible reasons for the findings, explaining that for some individuals, social media can trigger feelings of low self-esteem. For example, a user of a social media site may look at other people on the site and assume that those people are more successful, beautiful, intelligent, etc. Pantic explained that a study examining students at the University of Utah found that those who regularly used social media sites felt that their peers were more successful and happier than they were. Pantik noted that while these feelings are not necessarily associated with depression, there may be a connection between them, especially if the person in question is already experiencing or has experienced mental health problems.
Dr. Saju Mathew was interviewed for an article in Piedmont Health in which he elaborated on this important point: “When we turn to social media, we look for validation, and consciously or not we compare our lives to the lives of others. As a result, we can don’t enjoy the moment that is in the present.
The effect of technology has grown in the healthcare area, and it is clear that technology is also making a positive difference in the mental healthcare system. However, research has shown that the very tools that can help reduce mental health problems, such as smartphone apps, can be associated with the experience of mental health problems in different contexts. As Pentic emphasized, more research is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn. Nevertheless, a broad understanding of the nuanced relationship between technology and mental health is essential to effective practice for mental health counselors entering the field. Consultants are forced to expand their technical skills, but always in accordance with their respective ethical guidelines and the rule of law.