Digital interventions for mental health
Mental health promotionWe’re all probably quite familiar with the way in which digital media promotes health. From breakfast television exercise routines through to things like the Fitbit and its equivalents, media and technology new and old have established in us a reasonably strong understanding of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. Some have sought to capitalise on this, and there’s no shortage of quackery, but that’s probably indication of a successful method of communication and dissemination! In terms of mental wellbeing, we’ve seen, throughout this MOOC, examples of how digital technology can be both a hindrance and a help, generating new problems like cyber-bullying and trolling, but also coming up with ways to manage and overcome them. Indeed, as Dr Gega suggests, the ways in which digital technology can facilitate connectedness and open up access to educational resources are themselves potential sources of digital wellbeing. Hopefully this MOOC has been able to live up to that to some extent!
Mental health treatmentBut digital technology can also be employed in clinically therapeutic ways. Dr Gega has pioneered developments in the area of computerised cognitive behavioural therapy (cCBT), wherein digital technology is used to improve patients’ access to psychological therapies. This has led to online cCBT courses such as Beating the Blues being recommended as treatments in guidelines by the UK’s National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE).Another approach Dr Gega mentions is a system that uses chroma-key video capture to help people with social anxiety or interpersonal difficulties rehearse social skills in a variety of virtual social scenarios. You can read more about it here:mobile apps have been developed to allow real time practice in everyday life, and that’s an area we’ll look at more closely in the next step…
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