With #WorldMentalHealthDay in mind, we've curated innovations that will hopefully inspire those working to raise awareness.
Mental health is one of the many issues that we regularly track at Springwise and one that has come into greater focus due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
According to rethink.org, roughly 80 per cent of people living with mental illness say that the COVID-19 has made their mental health even worse. This fact alone makes this year’s #WorldMentalHealthDay, which is coming up on the 10th of October, worthy of even more attention.
Prior to COVID, it was estimated that one in every four people globally suffers from at least one mental health disorder, and many do not seek treatment. The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey had previously found that almost 20 per cent of people in the UK who screened positive for a psychotic disorder had not received any sort of treatment.
“Given past experience of emergencies, it is expected that the need for mental health and psychosocial support will substantially increase in the coming months and years,” the World Health Organisation says. “This is why the goal of this year’s World Mental Health Day campaign is increased investment in mental health.”
We believe that greater investment in mental health is part of the solution, in addition to the creative use of technology and other kinds of innovative ideas. The following innovations spotted by Springwise will hopefully provide inspiration to those working to combat mental health issues and raise awareness.
1. PLATFORM TRACKS USER’S MOOD ON INTERNET
Misü is a desktop app designed to measure users’ moods while online and notify them if particular websites are triggering stress hormones.
Once installed, Misü takes photos of users periodically while they’re on the internet. The app then uses an algorithm to analyse the images and estimate whether the websites the user has visited is having a positive or negative impact on their mood. Over the course of an eight-hour workday, the app takes between 200 and 400 images.
2. MOBILE GAME PROVIDES PSYCHOLOGICAL SUPPORT TO CHILDREN
Estonian health technology startup Triumf Health created a mobile game platform that aims to ease children’s mental health worries around the coronavirus crisis. The free app is available to children aged 7-14 in Estonia and the UK. It is designed to deliver accurate information about the virus in a way that will not overwhelm children.
In addition to information, the platform also offers advice on topics such as how to protect yourself and how to reduce stress related to the pandemic. The advice is delivered as a game and is intended to lessen the anxiety caused by the pandemic and the lockdowns.
3. GRANDMOTHERS TACKLE DEPRESSION WITH THE AID OF A PARK BENCH
A Zimbabwean initiative called The Friendship Bench is taking on depression with a program that draws on the expertise of grandmothers.
Since 2006, Dixon Chibanda, a psychiatrist in Harare, Zimbabwe and his team, have trained more than 400 grandmothers to deliver talk therapy, which they provide for free in communities across Zimbabwe, often on colourful benches set up for the purpose. The programme has since been expanded to many countries.
4. APP ALLOWS COMPANIES TO MONITOR AND SUPPORT EMPLOYEE MENTAL HEALTH
Wellness company Living Ashram developed a wellbeing app for employees. The subscription app uses a “whole human approach” which guides users through specially-designed practices including mindful breathing, forgiveness, gratitude and “Deeds of Appreciation”. The daily practices can be completed in 2-15 minutes. The company told Springwise the app has been designed to create “engaged, motivated, thriving teams”.
5. APP PROMISES TO MAKE EACH AND EVERY DAY A GOOD DAY
The Moodrise app is designed to brighten your day. Developed by AeBeZe Labs, the app promises to help you feel better by targeting six appealing states of mind, including happiness, confidence and focus. You choose the mood and the app feeds you photos, videos and other online content, specially approved by mental health specialists to improve “your experience on planet earth”.
6. TEXT-MESSAGING THERAPY THAT BOOSTS MENTAL HEALTH
A randomised, controlled trial found that adding text message communications to intensive community psychotherapy programmes appeared to improve illness management and reduce the severity of paranoid thoughts.
With coronavirus continuing to interrupt the provision of regular healthcare, text messaging was a quick and easy means of improving the amount of care that was available to patients. Very little training is required, making it easy for clinicians to add the strand of care to their current programmes.
7. OFFICE CUBES THAT MONITOR WORKERS’ WELLBEING
Researchers at Australia’s Deakin University created a smart cube that monitors workers’ wellbeing. Cube Comfort Monitors (also known as “Baby Cubes” due to their size) contain sensors that measure conditions in the workplace.
The cubes are small enough to sit on a standard desk. Data on room temperature, humidity, light intensity, light temperature, sound levels and air quality indicators like CO2 and volatile organic compounds, is transmitted to a cloud-based server in real-time. The information is then analysed to reveal problem areas within the room. Office managers can use the information to adjust the room temperature or other issues based on workers’ needs.
Written and Edited By: Justin Sablich
Follow on Twitter: @JustinSablich
7th October 2020