Mental Health Is Only A Few Clicks Away
By the mid of March 2020, we locked ourselves inside four walls for a greater good – to flatten the curve. Over two months later, here we are. The ‘new normal’ seems to be settling in place, and people are trying to wrap their heads around everything that was, everything that is, and whatever is yet to come. Amongst the worldly chaos, there’s a lot going on within us. But that’s a story we aren’t talking about. This is the story of our mental health.
“Health is health. What is mental about it?”
This is the story of what happens inside the greatest creation of all times – a human brain. “Scared”, “stress”, “uncertain”, “panicky”, “anxious”, “disturbed”, “depressed”, “kuch-kuch-hota-hai-tum-nahi-samjhoge” (but without a smile). We know about various conditions for which one must seek help. But little did we know, not sharing our thoughts or not expressing our emotions could also lead to potentially dangerous health conditions. Gen Z and millennials are at the forefront of the mental health issues right now, in that order.
About 70% of Gen Z and Millennials quit their jobs, at least partly, citing mental health concerns. A University of Alberta study shows that 35% of students suffer from panic attacks due to stress. A Yale University professor decided to start a class named ‘The Science of Well-Being’, citing the hapless state of her Ivy-League college students. In February 2020, the World Health Organisation cited that 15% of health issues are related to mental health alone. It also labelled India as the ‘world’s most depressing country’.
If so many of us are not in the best of our health, why aren’t we talking about it? Even today, many people dismiss mental health conditions. We talk about it in regular conversation, but don’t admit our inner reality because we’re afraid of being labelled. If lack of awareness is one reason that we do not talk about mental health as openly as must, the shortage of availability is another problem. The few times that we do recognise and admit our issues, we often find ourselves directionless in moving ahead.
A plush psychiatrist and a fancy therapist might not be the go-to solution for most of us. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t deserving of the help we need. Here’s a simple question for you. What are three things you cannot live without? If you said “roti, kapda, makaan”, brownie points for being filmy are all yours. But realistically speaking, you will count your devices and wallet before thinking about anything else. A 2019 study reveals that we check our phone about 96 times a day, averaging to every 10 minutes.
Honestly, how wouldn’t we? From waking up on time to reminding us to drink 8 glasses of water, technology has found a way to become a part of our being. With every passing day, we are depending more and more on our devices to make our lives easier. But did you know? The very screen that sucks us into a virtual world can also be used to make our reality better. Just like you can do many things at just a touch, you can also become better and happier through it.
Here’s your reason to turn to screen a little more often, for a better cause this time.
The mighty Internet is all about keywords. Try searching for ‘wellness’ and ‘therapy’ on your App Store or Play Store. What you will find is an overwhelming result of apps that promise to help you. Overcoming mental health issues isn’t as simple as popping a pill every few hours. It needs more attention and sincerity. The dearth of mental health professionals is a fact we wish we could deny. But by the time we meet demand with adequate supply, going digital is our best bet. But there’s more to it.
Digital wellness apps or Digital Therapeutics are gaining massive popularity for several reasons. They are available to you at your ease. They subtract the baggage of meeting people in person, a great bonus for introverts. All you need is a device with good internet connection and the will to help yourself. Most of the apps go back in time with one of the most ancient Indian technique to help you, that is meditation and mindfulness. From depression to anxiety and everything in between, meditation has proven to be of great help. These apps allow you the flexibility of your choosing your teacher to your preferred type of mediation practise.
If meditation isn’t something that matches your vibe, there’s always another option. Music. By now, we know that listening to music can alter our mood. Running, jogging or working out – everything is better with your favourite music playing in the backdrop. Similarly, Music Therapy as real and available as it can be. These apps use music to drive you into a different space of mind – which allows you to focus on the parts that require your attention. A popular plus point of the music-based wellness apps is its versatility. There are sounds that allow you to wake up and head to sleep, that make you more focused and also the ones that de-clutter your mind.
If it’s jazz that puts you to sleep, tap on it. If you feel like listening to the pitter-patter of raindrop, turn towards it. If nature is what heals your soul, tune into it. That’s the magic of music. Everything you want is just a few clicks away. We hope that doesn’t seem like too much work. Well if it does, there is good news. There are easier options. With some apps, you can turn the notifications on. The sounds play on your phone’s speaker and make you feel calmer or assertive – as per your own preference. That’s all for now, but with changing times, we’re excited to see the what’s more in store – with just a few clicks.
Digital future for mental well-being?
With so much happening, it is helpful to ensure we do not lose ourselves in the worldly chaos. Hugging your best friend or seeing a therapist may not be possible immediately. But that does not mean we allow ourselves to hit the rock bottom, one step a day. Instead, we have to do the exact opposite. We have to climb up, one step a day, towards our best version. Because the road towards that is long, but worth it.
With a mind that acknowledges the problem, accepts it as it is, and works towards making things better, will be happier. And a wise man once said, “happiness isn’t how intensely you feel it, it is how frequently you feel it”. And if staying close to a screen for a few more minutes can do it, then ask yourself, “why not?”