Worry Less, Live More: The Future of Mental Health Care is Here
Stephen Smith is the Founder and CEO of nOCD, an app that helps people with OCD get clinically effective treatment, understand their condition via objective data, and join peer support groups.
As the Founder and CEO of nOCD, an app that helps patients with OCD get treatment while collecting real time data about their treatment process, and as a fellow person with a mental health condition, many often ask me, “I've suffered for years and years on end, will I ever get my life back?” The answer, in short, is yes, but my reasoning actually differs from what you've typically heard:
Say, worst case scenario, as a patient your condition doesn't improve over the next five years. Heck for arguments sake, imagine your condition actually gets worse. In today's society, that’s objectively bad news, since that means more crippling anxiety, lasting heartache, and sleepless nights. In the near future though, thanks to technology, it may not even make that much of a difference because mental health care will be THAT much more effective.
Because technology is growing at an exponential rate, it is nearly certain that no matter the severity level of your condition, you actually will be more equipped to “worry less and live more”. Here’s how: technology will make clinically effective mental health therapy more accessible so there won't be year long waiting lists to visit accomplished clinicians. You will be able to go online, and book a video chat appointment with a licensed specialist within minutes, instead of days. In addition, technology will make each clinician’s work so much more efficient, that they will be able to work less, work from home, AND see more patients per day. After the end of an appointment, they will prescribe “apps” to patients to help them get 24/7 support outside of the office. Those apps will connect to licensed peer supporters trained to lead online support groups, digital treatment workbooks connected to virtual reality environments, 24/7 call centers structured for in the moment guidance, and more. Instead of paying a premium for additional support, these apps will most likely be free, since mental health care tech businesses will anonymize the user base's data in large aggregates to help research institutes better understand mental illness long term. The data won't be labeled "John Smith’s data", it will be “Patient X’s”. This will create a system where brilliant researchers will have the information needed to advance mental health medication long term, bringing psychiatric pharmacology into a whole different universe.
Those running today’s broken mental health care establishment that resist the new age of mental health care will be past by, similarly to how taxi companies were displaced by Uber. Technology isn't always fair, but it works for the good of humanity, and it's about to help millions of people suffering from mental illness faster than you think.
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