In spite of its ubiquity and widespread usage, technology often receives the blame for some of life’s greatest trials. For instance, technology and social media are believed to be the main culprits of depression, anxiety, and even heightened risk of committing suicide.
This is often attributed to the fact that no one displays the low points of their life online — instead, social media is utilized as a highlight reel of sorts, made to display one’s best days and habits, as opposed to the trials and tribulations they truly encounter.
Because of this, depression and anxiety are typically triggered due to feelings of inadequacy, as one may not be consistently making the dean’s list in college, getting engaged or married, having children, or even working in the field they went to school for.
However, efforts are being made to counteract the polarizing effects of social media and technology, thus encouraging their utilization to the benefit — rather than the detriment — of one’s mental health.
This has been achieved through the advent of smartphones and applications, as these specific forms of technology ushered in more accessible methods of getting help for emotional, physical, and even mental issues — whether that be managing panic attacks, self-diagnosing illnesses prior to seeing one’s doctor, tracking one’s exercise and food consumption to supplement a diet program, and so on.
As time has gone on, companies like Pacifica are launching self-help apps that are designed to make cognitive behavioral exercises accessible to more people — especially those who may not have access to such services due to location or lack of insurance. The list of services offered by this app has naturally expanded since its inception, and now includes: exercises designed to combat anxiety, depression, and stress; relaxation and journaling tools; and goal-setting programs that aid users in tracking their personal progress.
Now, Pacifica is launching a supplementary application for users who wish to take their self-help need to the next level: seeking actual, in-person help from a trained professional. The app, dubbed The Therapist Directory, allows users to find providers within their networks, attend online consultations, and complete exercises recommended by their therapists. The Therapist Directory also works in tandem with Pacifica for Clinicians, an app designed for therapists that wish to publish exercises and other materials online for their patients to access.
Evidently, technology is neither inherently good nor evil. Instead, its value and impact are both affected by the intentions of its developers and targeted audience. It will definitely be intriguing to see how technology continues to adapt based on the needs of its users.