The Positive Effects Of Technology On Mental Health

The Positive Effects Of Technology On Mental Health

People who think technology can only harm people's mental health are living in the Stone Age.
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Flying cars, self-tying shoes, and time travel. When you think about the future of technology, what comes to mind are usually these amazing, fantastical innovations. Even though today we may not have flying cars or hoverboards we do have technology that people 50 years ago could only dream of.

The best part of these new advancements, though, is that they help people suffering from the most common affliction in the country: mental illness. I know that there are a lot of people who will say technology does more harm than good for those with mental instabilities, but it’s important to recognize how today’s technological advancements help the people already afflicted.

Despite the major psychological damage social media has on people, a study done in 2017 at Duke University concluded that adolescents who were allowed to use their phones during the week showed lower levels of anxiety and stress. This is because children who are able to connect with more of their friends and family feel less isolated. It provides others with a sense of belonging.

Another study done at Carnegie Mellon University concluded that “When people have one-on-one interaction on social media (e.g., getting a “like,” a message, or a comment), they feel more bonded." These positive effects of social media are rarely discussed when it comes to the impact it has on people with mental health issues.

On Mental Health America’s webpage, online support groups are listed for a variety of mental health problems, from Alcoholics Anonymous to Suicide prevention.

Support groups have always been a way for people to know they are not alone. When groups for certain illnesses are locally unavailable to those who need them, online support groups are used to connect people with the same struggles and who need the same support all around the world.

There are also telephone hotlines set up for people who are struggling with dark thoughts that allow them to speak with real people who listen to them and try to comfort them. There are hotlines for suicide prevention, domestic abuse, eating disorders, LGBT people, and addicts, just to list a few.

Another technological advancement that is beneficial to those with mental illnesses are apps made for cell phones. There are thousands of apps available that are used to help with various mental illnesses.

Meditation apps such as Headspace help manage stress and calm people with anxiety and panic disorders, giving them an easy way to take a second and breathe.

Apps like Mood 24/7 and Optimism track moods and thoughts, giving people who suffer from depression a place to keep track of all the emotions and experiences they have had in a day.

There are also apps like Calm Harm which are used to avoid self harm by giving the user distractions such as games to play until the urge to hurt themselves has passed.

All of the apps I just listed are free in the app store, showing how technology has made getting help so accessible.



Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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I'm A Woman And You Can't Convince Me Breastfeeding In Public Is OK In 2019

Sorry, not sorry.

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Lately, I have seen so many people going off on social media about how people shouldn't be upset with mothers breastfeeding in public. You know what? I disagree.

There's a huge difference between being modest while breastfeeding and just being straight up careless, trashy and disrespectful to those around you. Why don't you try popping out a boob without a baby attached to it and see how long it takes for you to get arrested for public indecency? Strange how that works, right?

So many people talking about it bring up the point of how we shouldn't "sexualize" breastfeeding and seeing a woman's breasts while doing so. Actually, all of these people are missing the point. It's not sexual, it's just purely immodest and disrespectful.

If you see a girl in a shirt cut too low, you call her a slut. If you see a celebrity post a nude photo, you call them immodest and a terrible role model. What makes you think that pulling out a breast in the middle of public is different, regardless of what you're doing with it?

If I'm eating in a restaurant, I would be disgusted if the person at the table next to me had their bare feet out while they were eating. It's just not appropriate. Neither is pulling out your breast for the entire general public to see.

Nobody asked you to put a blanket over your kid's head to feed them. Nobody asked you to go feed them in a dirty bathroom. But you don't need to basically be topless to feed your kid. Growing up, I watched my mom feed my younger siblings in public. She never shied away from it, but the way she did it was always tasteful and never drew attention. She would cover herself up while doing it. She would make sure that nothing inappropriate could be seen. She was lowkey about it.

Mindblowing, right? Wait, you can actually breastfeed in public and not have to show everyone what you're doing? What a revolutionary idea!

There is nothing wrong with feeding your baby. It's something you need to do, it's a part of life. But there is definitely something wrong with thinking it's fine to expose yourself to the entire world while doing it. Nobody wants to see it. Nobody cares if you're feeding your kid. Nobody cares if you're trying to make some sort of weird "feminist" statement by showing them your boobs.

Cover up. Be modest. Be mindful. Be respectful. Don't want to see my boobs? Good, I don't want to see yours either. Hard to believe, I know.

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An Open Letter To Those Who Forget Those Who Fought For Us All

We would not have the freedom to create what we love without them.

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Without the bravery of millions of men and women throughout US history, many of us would not be sitting at our laptops reading or even creating free expressions of ourselves.

We might not be able to walk across campus without fear for our lives. Without the sacrifice of those who served, the great country we call home would not even be a reality. Whether we know them personally or not, the American people owe every ounce of freedom that we enjoy to the veterans who fought to preserve it.

For the soldiers who made it home again, the physical war was over, but the mental war was just beginning. And what makes it worse is that they cannot identify the enemy. There is no battle plan, no intended mission, and no officer leading them through the fray; they are alone, and cannot find the enemy to face in the shadows.

Veterans come home with so many different battle scars; some as obvious as a missing limb, and others so invisible that no one realizes that they are there until it is too late. Mental illness and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) plague returning soldiers and make it almost impossible for them to assimilate back into their own families, let alone society.

There is a toxic mentality that is all too popular in the military that tries to say that PTSD is for the weak and feeble-minded. Sometimes serving for years in foreign lands, some soldiers claim that any form of weakness gets you killed or captured on the battlefield. Coming home with this same mentality creates a toxic environment in which veterans refuse to seek help and the nightmares that they endured overseas haunt them until they cannot take it anymore.

There were soldiers that did not make it home at all, and some that were carried off planes in a box draped in the flag of their beloved country. Many of those who died did so to give their friends the chance to see the home and the families that they themselves would never lay eyes on again. They did not die just for their friends to come home to sleep on benches, having been kicked out of their houses or unable to hold a job. They did not die for their friends to come home only to put a needle to their arm, a bottle to their lips, or a pistol to their head.

Every day, 22 veterans and active-duty soldiers commit suicide. That means approximately every 65 minutes, a veteran has taken his or her life somewhere in the United States, the country that forgot them after they gave up so much for it. This statistic is inexcusable for our nation, and in other areas, the bar is just as low.

The vets with physical wounds alongside their mental ones who seek help must yet again face another battle; this time being with the healthcare system and all of its heavy expenses.

They usually get bags of over-prescribed drugs thrown at them as well as opioids rather than the physical and mental therapy that they need and deserve. The drugs turn the veterans into addicts, and as the pain continues to intensify on both the physical and mental fronts, they take more and more to numb the pain. This way, many reach overdose, and even death.

Mental illness, PTSD, lack of adequate treatment, and physical impairment all make it practically impossible for a soldier to get and keep a job, which could start a downward spiral into homelessness.

Despite the efforts that government organizations such as the Veterans Affairs have set in motion, the programs implemented have had minimal effect upon the crisis at hand. With a broken system and so many odds stacked against them, so many veterans have lost faith in the country that they fought so hard for, the same country that left them to their own nightmares in the alleyways and dark corners of cities. This is a humanitarian crisis that defines who we are as a nation.

I understand that many people may call a different crisis to mind that they think should take priority over getting these heroes off the streets. However, without all the sacrifices that the millions who served have made to protect America and everything it stands for, most other issues in this country would not even be plausible, let alone resolvable. This country is a beacon of hope to the world, and so many risks their own lives as well as their children's to come here. But without those who protected our liberty, there would be no liberty to flock to.

I want to imagine a United States that successfully integrates veterans back into society, that has the programs and the willpower to get them back on their feet and out of the shadows of the horrors they faced overseas.

But more than that, I want to imagine an American people that turn around to help pay the debt that those who fought for our freedom never asked us to repay. Because after all, freedom isn't free.

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