It is not a secret that the modern world is rapidly advancing through the development of various technological systems and devices. Now more than ever, the interconnectivity between countless individuals has been reaching unprecedented peaks of speed and convenience. Furthermore, these virtually instantaneous connections create an environment where experts of various disciplines can easily innovate within their respective fields. One particular field that needs to take more monumental steps towards innovation is mental health diagnosis and treatment.
The industry of mental health services is not a stranger to pushing the boundaries of technology. Throughout the early establishment of testing and diagnosis, many inventions were generated to instill an importance of accuracy in identifying mental dysfunctions. Dating back to 1905, a device known as a “psychograph” would present a list of characteristics of one’s personality by inspecting the shape of the person’s skull (Esbjörn-Hargens, 2010). Although these early creations were based on flawed and outdated theories, the instruments forged a relationship between psychological health care and technological advancement that would be maintained for generations. Today, computers are used in many cases to administer psychological tests and treatment.
As the increasing trend of psychological disturbances continues to affect larger proportions of the population, the need for more effective treatment services to adapt also increases. Over recent years, one of the most progressive changes made in the field has been the gradual integration of information technology applications. Since the amount of psychological and psychiatric cases continues to rise, administrative services require digital modes of communication and hubs of patient records to keep up. For many hospitals and other health care companies, this adoption of centralized, computerized networks is only the beginning. As many of these systems are still new to many staff members, a solidified infrastructure must be invested in and carefully designed to produce care that is secure, fair, well-timed and patient-focused.
The treatment of mental health conditions is a universal issue that impacts communities around the globe. Due to this fact, the emerging technology of “telehealth” is being incorporated into contemporary health care to overcome geographical gaps that often obstruct access to consultation, health administration, health-related education and public health (Hudnall, 1998). Unfortunately, this technology is still significantly underutilized, with approximately one-third of health care providers actively using mobile and remote technologies in their methods. This leaves many employees struggling to coordinate communication between themselves and the patients with a severe and chronic lack of care.
On the patient’s side of health-focused communication, the Internet and various smartphone applications have been used as powerful screening tools and interventions for millions of human beings and their respective mental health issues. When mental health centers message outpatients via email or text with treatment reminders or informative resources, those in continued recovery can stay consistently prepared to meet their respective goals. Conversely, people can also reach out for support when they need it most with only a simple click or press of their device. Individuals with mental disorders now have access to a variety of technological advances whenever they need to reach out for help, whether it is via their computer at home or through their phone. (Alleman, 2002 & Bauer et. al., 2003)
Indirect medical advancements in technology also have profound effects on mental health diagnosis and treatment. For example, university-based biological studies and experiments that employ the latest examination tools continue to discover new neurological and chemical links to many mental conditions, from the presence of amino acid surpluses in schizophrenia to the Gomafu gene’s role in anxiety disorder. A pioneering study from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago was able to diagnose depression in adults through a blood test. These findings gradually shift the perceptions of mental illness as the common ground between biological and psychological elements broadens. Overall, many sectors of health can benefit the progress of mental care in one way or another. What seems to be the most important factor for further innovation is a communal mindset that advocates the value of human life.
Although modern mental health diagnosis and treatment has varying levels of innovation depending on one’s location, socioeconomic status and type of disorder, many privatized treatment centers have taken it upon themselves to ensure that uninformed and underserved groups get the help they deserve. The California Dual Diagnosis Helpline provides a team of service specialists to extend the interconnectivity of the mental health world to a wide range of new possible clients. If you are in need of help with a mental health condition and other co-occurring issue, please contact us online or call 855-980-1736.