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Why I Believe That Technology is the New Frontier in Mental Health Support

By Dan proverbs, Founder of BIA

As a society, we are at a crossroads in our approach to mental health. The traditional methods of support, while well-intentioned, are not meeting the needs of those most at risk. In particular, men under 45 - the demographic most likely to die by suicide in the UK - are struggling to find and access help.

The Kings Fund's recent report on mental health data provides a stark illustration of this problem. The report criticises both the completeness and quality of data collected by providers, highlighting how these failings impact our ability to provide timely and effective support.

The inadequacies of mental health data collection have real-world consequences. Without complete and accurate information, it becomes exceedingly difficult for healthcare providers to predict who might be at risk or understand which interventions work best. This lack of clarity exacerbates an already critical situation: men grappling with mental health issues often do not seek help until they reach crisis point.

As someone who has personally faced these challenges, I am acutely aware that we need more than just incremental improvements; we require fundamental change in our approach. This is where technology comes into play. Technology offers us an opportunity for transformational change. It can provide platforms where men can express their feelings without fear of judgement or societal pressure - platforms like Blethr that I am proud to be involved with.

Blethr is more than just an app; it’s a lifebuoy ring thrown into stormy waters before someone starts drowning.

Data collected through technology can also be richer and more nuanced than traditional forms. Moreover, technology allows us access to real-time information that can inform proactive interventions.

This isn't about replacing face-to-face therapy or other established forms of treatment; it's about augmenting them. It's about creating an additional layer of support that is readily accessible and non-judgemental, and that can provide men with the tools they need to manage their mental health effectively.

Investing in technology like Blethr represents the best chance we have of reducing male suicide rates. It is a crucial part of a broader strategy to encourage prevention through self-management. By offering men a safe space to express their feelings, we not only give them permission to seek help but also empower them with the tools necessary for self-care.

The Kings Fund report should serve as a wake-up call for all of us involved in mental health care. We must seize this moment to build on the promise of technology and deliver on our collective responsibility towards mental health support. After all, behind every data point is a human life - one that deserves our utmost effort to understand, protect, and cherish.

Read the full Kingsfund report here

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