Technology and Mental Health

In today's world almost everyone has access to some kind of technology. We use this technology to communicate with each other, to learn new things, to access news, for recreational purposes such as gaming and even to create a digital life for ourselves via social media. 

More than 3.8 billion people have access to the internet across the world now and this is where the focus for Let It Out lies. The stigma attached to mental health is slowly being chipped away but mental health is still not being discussed as much as it needs to be.  

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91% of young people use the internet everyday

An EU study in 2016 found that 91% of young people use the internet on a daily basis. Whether it is social media, online gaming or mobile phones we always have access to technology. Despite this there is a real lack of internet and technological education for the majority of users. This means a lot of internet users are not aware of the dangers and benefits of the internet. Let's have a look at some now!

24/7 access to information

As long as we have a device that can connect to the internet then we have access to all sorts of information. Let It Out plans to make use of this unlimited access by encouraging people to use their technology to increase their awareness of mental health and to give them the skills to deal with any mental health issues. If we raise awareness of using the internet for improving our lives then we can ensure that a large amount of the worldwide population can help themselves. 

Less active lifestyle

It is not just young people who are affected by the use of technology. A lot of careers and jobs nowadays rely on technology to make working easier but this means that a lot of jobs require employees to spend all day sitting in front of a screen. Physical labour is a great way to get our of your head as you need to focus on the task at hand so having a less physical work life gives us more time to think and therefore we have more opportunity to suffer from mental health issues.

A different kind of learning

Technology is now used regularly in schools to assist students and teachers in their learning. "Smart Classrooms" are becoming more common with interactive whiteboards and computers being commonplace in the average school. We need to make use of this to encourage young people to use the internet to access resources to learn more about the world and the different people in it as well as to give them the skills to cope with any problems that might arise in their life.

More control over our minds

Without technology we get most of our information from other people or books. We know that people find it hard to talk about certain subjects so the internet gives us the freedom to access information without feeling embarrassed or ashamed. Technology allows us to see that we are never alone. People from minority backgrounds, people with mental illness, people from LGBTQ+ community and people with behavioural disorders are all examples of people who can find support information on the internet to remind them they are not alone.

So what's the downside?

Cyber-bullying, cyber security issues and online predators are all threats that can affect internet users. People who leave nasty comments on social media accounts are called trolls and they are internet regulars. On social media we are constantly bombarded with photo-shopped images of celebrities, adverts and 24/7 access to worldwide news. This can affect our self-esteem, make us feel like the stuff we have is not good enough, and remind us that there are plenty of horrors and tragedies occurring regularly. 

With all this access to potentially harmful material we really need to start teaching people the skills to cope with this kind of information.