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Friday, September 22, 2023

How technology can help address mental health in an unequal world

Earlier this year, one of the greatest gymnasts of all time and the sport’s most decorated athlete, Simone Biles, withdrew from the final rounds of several competitions at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In a social media post a few days before she stepped away, Biles said, “I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times”. She expanded on this in some of the press conferences that followed, and spoke openly about the need to prioritize her mental health.

Her decision set off a new wave of conversations about mental health, and established Biles as one in a string of athletes, celebrities, and prominent and influential people who have spoken up about their experiences in recent years. Prince Harry, Lady Gaga and Ryan Reynolds are among those who have publicly discussed depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders and addiction, helping to shift these topics from private and taboo to open and transparent.

Inequalities in mental health

And yet, while these admissions help to normalize mental health issues and demonstrate how universal they are, more remains to be done. The World Federation for Mental Health* is all too aware of this, and has set this year’s theme for World Mental Health Day, which falls annually on 10 October, as “Mental Health in an Unequal World”.

This theme, the federation says, is intended to highlight that “access to mental health services remains unequal, with between 75% to 95% of people with mental disorders in low and middle-income countries unable to access mental health services at all”. Access in high-income countries, it goes on to say, is not much better.

Recent times have only made things worse, exacerbating existing mental health issues and causing countless new ones, all while limiting social contact between people and reducing access to support. Funding to organizations that seek to help people has also been stemmed.

How technology can help

As we strive to find ways of supporting people who need it, one of the best avenues we can turn to is technology. Today, there are countless Apps that provide mental health advice and assistance, and help to reduce some of the barriers imposed by economic circumstances, work commitments and many more. Many of these Apps are available on HUAWEI AppGallery.

BestHelp, for example, is an anonymous psychological help chat-App that allows you to ask questions and receive advice from experienced counsellors. You can also meet people who are going through similar problems and share your experiences in a safe and supportive space.

Using Apps like Mindfulness Meditations or Mindfulness with Petit BamBou can help you establish a meditation routine, which has been proven to be enormously beneficial in treating a range of mental health issues. Apps like HUAWEI Health and Health Sync offer insight into your physical health, which can also help you to manage your mental health. Realizing how much (or how little) exercise you’re getting can help you to make it a priority, providing a positive knock-on effect mentally and emotionally.

With social distancing measures still in place, and more and more people requiring mental health support, we need to be making use of every resource available to us – technology included. Visit HUAWEI AppGallery today to see what other Apps can aid your mental, physical and emotional well-being.


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