Using Digital in Mental Health Services and to manage our own Mental Health – A conversation!

Here’s a question: Can the use of digital technology including:  social media, digital applications and digital interaction help to keep us well and be used to improve mental health services?  Plenty of people think the answer is yes.

Digital technology is our latest tool – could it be that we officially in the digital era?  We now use it in so many ways;  to communicate, to discuss our problems,  to be creative,  to be political,  to advertise, to run businesses, to track progress, to share files – and the list goes on. Many of use platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Skype in our daily lives.

So how do we use it to do good? How do we harness its power and potentiality to aid us in improving Mental Health Services?  To help us as individuals to keep well?

In November I was invited to a day of conversations on this very topic. The day was organised by Victoria Betton who writes about it in her blog – Co-Producing Digital Mental Health.

Here’s a snippet of the conversations: 

Using digital technology as a safety net to fill in the gaps –  I chose this conversation title as I felt that there were gaps in services.  It drew interest from people including a woman from Age UK. She talked about the problem of Isolation for older people,  she was involved in a project which helped older people to connect to each other by using digital tablets.  A Student Welfare Officer talked about how disrupting the summer holiday gap is for students who attend support groups/therapy in term time.  Could digital technology provide a solution during this gap?

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(Art work created on the day by Tom @artsmindsleeds)

Could it be used to disrupt mental health services in order to provide a better experience for users of the services?  Could it also be used to provide preventative support to people? We also talked about the therapeutic value of creativity, is it a human need which we often neglect in our society?  Could digital help us to express ourselves through a different medium than language? Could it help us flourish?

Do you have any ideas?  Do you use any applications which you use to maintain your mental health or physical health?  Do you find using digital technology empowering?  Has it helped you in any way? What are your thoughts? Negative or Positive?  We’d love to hear them.

Thanks Vicky 🙂

There were many more conversations throughout the day.  If you are on Twitter and would like to know more about the day see  #DigitalMH13

If you are a designer or a  developer and have a passion for improving mental health services and would like to get involved please see #digihealthlab

Thanks Vicky 🙂

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3 thoughts on “Using Digital in Mental Health Services and to manage our own Mental Health – A conversation!

  1. Thanks Vicky for posing some useful questions about the progress and appropriateness of digital in/for mental wellbeing, it was good to see that many at the event recognised how excluding the digital divide can be, the day also demonstrated just what can be achieved through this style of real time ‘unconference’ meet up.
    Su

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  2. I love the idea of older people having access to digital tablets to counter isolation. I often think my mum (93) would not look back if she once got the hang of googling and skyping. Did the woman from Age UK say how you could get hold of a cheap tablet? I think digital is just like any other technology in that it’s neither good nor bad in itself – it can be used for good or for contributing to the mess….fascinating debate, thanks for the post, Terry

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  3. Hi Terry – I’m not sure about cheap tablets, or the eligibility requirements of the project – but perhaps you could enquire at AgeUK. I also know a person who bought his 90 year old mum a tablet and she loves it.
    I find it so inspiring.
    Thanks for both of your comments 🙂

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