Mental health disorder refers to a complex disorder of the nervous system, often characterised by behavioural or mental patterns that could cause significant distress or impairment in the personal and cognitive functioning of people.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the world, with suicide now viewed as the second leading reason for death among the 15- to 19-year-old demographic. Statistics furthermore indicate that people with severe mental health conditions die prematurely – by as much as two decades – due to preventable physical conditions.1
The tragedy is that many mental health conditions can be effectively treated at low cost – yet the gap between people needing care and those with access is widening. This offers a prime opportunity for the introduction of mHealth solutions to those who need care but have problems accessing it.
What is mHealth?
Following on telehealth, a broad, ‘catch-all’ term that encompasses technologies and methodologies that enable remote care, mHealth has a specific methodology that utilises mobile technology to achieve improved health goals.
The WHO defines mHealth as … “the use of mobile and wireless technologies to support the achievement of health objectives. It makes use of mobile and wireless devices including cell phones and tablets to improve health outcomes, health care services and health research.”
In a broad sense, mHealth is a series of apps, devices and connections that allow the user to be mobile or reach out on a variety of mobile platforms. It refers to the concept of mobile self-care – enabling consumers to own their own health data without a clinician’s assistance or interpretation: in effect, patient self-interaction.2
Can mHealth benefit consumers?
The rapidly expanding field of mHealth is a terrific way to harness affordable and ubiquitous mobile digital technologies that could assist with enhanced clinical care.
Accumulating evidence suggests that mHealth interventions are being adopted and is a valued tool by people living with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. They feel that the technology could offer a better understanding and management of their condition.3
As learning is context-dependent,4 apps can support the process of empowerment and recovery of people with various mental health problems by enabling them to access tools or find the support when they need it.5 Smartphones offer a handy and flexible mobile format and 24-hour availability making it a valuable tool in the fight against mental health identification and treatment.
The unprecedented uncertainly faced by the world continues to have a direct impact on the mental health of all demographics, but especially younger individuals who will inherit the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation, job insecurity, and the threat of global war.
To navigate these incredibly stressful periods, mHealth could offer a solution in the form of its easy to navigate, accessible and cost-effective solutions.
For detailed information and conclusive information on how to develop and incorporate mHealth technologies and high-tech apps into your business plan, contact the Clarity Medtech team for more information.