Can the Internet Help with Mental Health?June 13, 2022 2022-06-13 9:06
Can the Internet Help with Mental Health?
You’ve probably heard a lot about how the internet is bad for you. Especially in the area of mental health, people often talk about the harmful effects of the internet. Internet addiction can make you withdraw from your social networks. It can also bring down your productivity and happiness. But you also know that the internet makes life easier in many ways. You’re here to read an informative article, after all. All the same, can the internet actually help improve your mental health? For example, can you get mental health treatments that are completely internet-based? This article will answer this question — with a yes.
Chapter 1:Mental Health and the Internet
What is Mental Health?Mental health includes our psychological and social well-being. This means that if you are mentally healthy, you are doing well in your day-to-day activities. You also don’t experience distress that drains you, and you have supportive relationships in your life. Unfortunately, it is very common for people to have trouble with their mental health. Remember that there is no shame in this. Even if you don’t know it, someone you know probably has such struggles. You may have seen that sharing your troubles with friends and family helps you face a difficult situation. But sometimes you may feel such intense emotional distress that you may need professional help. Many people need help from mental health professionals like psychologists and counsellors. The demand for mental health services is very great around the world. And many, many people just don’t get the help that they need. This situation became even worse during the pandemic.
How Can the Internet Help with Mental Health?We’ve already seen that there are simply not enough professionals to help all the people in the world. Many people just don’t have access to psychological services. But if mental health treatments could be available on the internet, this would make these services accessible. Mental health professionals around the world have moved from in-person therapy to online therapy. Online therapy works just like normal therapy. You have one-on-one interaction with a professional. The only difference is that the mode of interaction is online. Online therapy has proved as effective as in-person therapy, as long as the communication is smooth. For example, a good network connection is vital for counselling. Another exciting way of making mental health services available to people is by making the treatments themselves available online. Over the past ten plus years, this has become a successful way of getting people the help that they need. These internet-based mental health treatments may be:
- Unguided self-help therapies. That is, you can read and apply programs created by mental health experts. The programs are designed so you can do this by yourself, without the need for anyone to assist you.
- Guided self-help therapies. Here, too, there is material to read and follow by yourself. But you can have a professional help you through the program.
Effectiveness of Internet-Based TreatmentsWe’ve already seen some of the reasons why internet-based treatments can help people. For example, you’re reading this article instead of directly contacting a professional. That’s likely because online resources are easier to access than a professional. Now say you’re struggling with your mental health and you want help. You’ve never been to a therapist before and all this is looking very scary. At least at the beginning, you may prefer to get online help and not involve anyone else. This way, instead of you going to a therapist’s office, the office comes to you. But do these internet-based treatments truly help someone who needs it? Research shows that they do. Online, unguided self-help treatments have proven to be almost as effective as formal therapy. Remember that proper treatments should have been designed by qualified experts or professionals. This is especially valuable for someone who needs psychological help and would prefer not to go to a professional. Another plus for internet-based treatments is the range of problems they address. These treatments can address concerns like:
- Anxiety disorders like Generalised Anxiety Disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and specific phobias.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder