Upon completion of a Master of Arts in Counseling degree, individuals may choose to work as mental health counselors – individuals who assist clients living with varying mental health and/or interpersonal issues. For example, a mental health counselor might meet in the morning with a bereaved woman who recently lost her husband, and then in the afternoon with a 20-year-old who is living with an anxiety disorder. The role is challenging and rewarding and requires an understanding and expertise across the whole spectrum of mental health concerns.
Given the ubiquity of technology in daily life – especially the Internet and Internet-based platforms such as social media sites and smartphone apps – mental health counselors working today will likely encounter clients who face such issues. are doing which may be directly or indirectly associated with the use. digital media. There is no doubt that the Internet and social media platforms such as Facebook have had a remarkable impact, according to Dr. Igor Pantik, who wrote the literature review “Online Social Networking and Mental Health” published by the US National Library of Medicine. The way people communicate.
Pantic further pointed out that several recent studies have found a link between social media use and certain mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. However, Pantic stresses that the studies are by no means conclusive and that efforts to understand the links between mental health and technology are in their infancy.
Nevertheless, it is useful for mental health counselors to have an understanding of the research and gain insight into the impact of technology on mental health, which extends to positive effects. After all, drawbacks aside, technology continues to improve many aspects of daily life for the better, and the field of mental health is no exception: there are a number of observable areas in which advances in technology have put consumers in charge of their mind control. Helped to take Healthcare in a positive way.
Technology: a Force for Good?
Writing for the Guardian, journalist Conor Farrington pointed out how mental health care still receives a notable lack of funding from international governments, despite progress in terms of mental health awareness. For example, Farrington pointed out that in industrialized countries such as the US and the UK, per capita spending on mental health care is just over $33, a little less than £33. This amount is much less in developing countries. Consequently, Farrington argued that technology holds promise as a vehicle for improving access to mental health care, especially in countries where such services are a priority.
Many ways that technology is enhancing mental health care Lena H. Sun explained writing for the Los Angeles Times, and it’s primarily through platforms like smartphones and computer-based apps that provide services and information to clients. can help to provide. more cost-effective method. For example, Sun explained that in addition to smartphone apps that promote mental health, there are now platforms that allow patients to complete courses of cognitive behavioral therapy online. In his article, Sun outlines a British-based service known as the Big White Wall, which is supported by the UK government-funded National Health Service. Big White Wall is an online platform that enables users living with mental health issues like anxiety and depression to manage their symptoms from home through tools such as educational resources, online conversations, and virtual classes on mental health issues. Big White Wall’s efficacy is distinctive—the Sun reports on a 2009 study that found that a large proportion of the service’s users—about 95 percent—saw an improvement in their symptoms.
How Can Counselors Harness Technology?
In addition to promoting smartphone apps and other internet services that can assist people access programs like Big White Wall, mental health counselors can play a significant role in facilitating access to those services. May be used to help improve general mental health. As opposed to being employed as a replacement, the technology can be used in conjunction with individual consultations. Counselors may also find that digital platforms allow for the development of deeper working relationships with clients, particularly younger clients who are accustomed to using technology on a daily basis. Bethany Bay, writing in an article for Counseling Today, interviewed Sara Spiegelhoff, a counselor in Syracuse, N.Y., who elaborated on this important point:
“I believe that technological resources for mental health are excellent tools to support traditional counseling services and a way for counselors to reach a bigger demographic than we generally serve,” on an individual basis. Students are quicker to check Facebook and Twitter statuses than their email, so using social media is a way for us to promote and distribute information about healthy living and outreach events, for example, wine During the awareness program, we encouraged students to download the free Blood Alcohol Calculator app. We also offer free Mindfulness Meditation MP3s via iTunes. I find MP3s to be a great resource as I share them with clients in sessions I am able to present, talk about their experiences listening to and practicing meditation, and then develop a treatment plan that includes the use of their meditation outside of the counseling session.”
mental health Counselors may also use the platform to connect with clients who may be located in under-served or rural areas and are unable to travel for in-person meetings. As Farrington explained, some studies, including one from Oxford University, have found that text messages and phone calls can be effective ways for counselors to connect with clients. Furthermore, telehealth platforms, which include instant messaging or video calling, are already proving useful in primary care settings to help counselors reach clients. For example, Rob Reinhart, writing for Counseling Today, interviewed Tasha Holland-Kornege, a counseling professional who provides counseling services to clients living with HIV primarily through a messaging platform, including the option of video and audio calls.
Reinhardt, in a separate article published by Tame Your Practice, writes about how the use of telemedicine platforms in mental health counseling has proven beneficial in several ways. Perhaps most importantly, Reinhardt cited a study by the University of Zurich researchers, as detailed by Science Daily, which found that counseling conducted online can actually be more effective than face-to-face sessions. The researchers examined two groups of clients – one group received therapy in person and the other received therapy via a telemedicine platform. The researchers found that clients who received online counseling sessions actually experienced better outcomes – 53 percent reported that their depression had decreased, compared to 50 percent of people in the group who received counseling equally. Other advantages include the fact that it is inexpensive and allows a wider net of clients to be seen and treated, especially those who are unable to access mental health services in person, whether due to geography, funding Issues such as lack of confidence, or social anxiety disorder.
A point of clarification needs to be made, however. While counselors may indeed use online technologies to aid in the counseling process or to provide counseling services, they must always follow ethical guidelines on the use of technologies. These guidelines can be found in the American Counseling Association’s Code of Ethics and the National Board for Certified Counselors’ website. In addition, counselors are required by law to be licensed in the locations where their clients reside.
Can Technology Have an Adverse Impact on Mental Health?
Although the use of technology can have a positive impact in terms of helping clients manage and treat certain mental health conditions, some research has indicated that the use of technology in general – and the Internet in particular – may actually be affecting mental health. maybe related to development. Mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression in certain individuals. As noted by Pentic, while more research is needed in this area, it is useful to take a closer look at what has been published so far on the topic:
As detailed by Dr. Romeo Vitelli in an article published by Psychology Today, research has indicated that Internet addiction, especially among younger demographics such as teenagers, is becoming a notable issue. Vitelli explained that Internet addiction disorder shares many similar features compared to other types of addiction, such as withdrawal symptoms when online access is stopped. While the Internet can be an agent for good in terms of education and strengthening interpersonal relationships, Internet addiction can be problematic because it can negatively affect academic success and the ability to communicate effectively in person. Vitali said research has also found a link between some mental illnesses and Internet addiction, including depression, low self-esteem, and loneliness.
The Link Between Social Media Use and Mental Illness
In his literature review, Pentic points out how several studies have shown a link between depression and the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Pantic cautions that much more research is needed before the conclusions drawn in the above studies can be widely accepted as fact within the counseling community. Nevertheless, the findings are worth investigating. Pantik reports on a 2013 study that found that young adults who frequently used the social networking site Facebook reported feeling less happy, possibly attributable to increased use of the social platform. Patrick also pointed to a study that he personally found among high school students, the rate of depression was higher among those who regularly used social media sites.
Pantic offered some possible reasons for the findings, explaining that social media sites may, for some individuals, trigger feelings of low self-esteem. For example, a social media site user may look at other people on the site and assume that those individuals are more successful, beautiful, intelligent, etc. Pantic explained that a study examining students at the University of Utah found that those who regularly used social media sites felt their peers were more successful and happier than they were. Pantik noted that although these feelings are not necessarily linked to depression, there may be a link between them, especially if the person in question is already experiencing or has experienced mental health problems.
Dr. Saju Mathew was interviewed for an article in Piedmont Health, in which he elaborated on this important point: “When we turn to social media, we are looking for confirmation, and consciously or not, we compare our life to the lives of others. As a result, we cannot enjoy the moment that is in the present.
The impact of technology has grown in the field of health care, and it is clear that technology is making a positive difference in mental health care as well. Research has indicated, however, that the very tools that may help reduce mental health issues, such as smartphone apps, may be linked to the experience of mental health problems in different contexts. As Pentic stressed, more research is needed before definite conclusions can be drawn. Nevertheless, for mental health counselors entering the field, a broad understanding of the nuanced relationship between technology and mental health is essential for effective practice. Consultants are compelled to expand their technical competencies but always in compliance with their respective ethical guidelines and the rule of law.