About 26 percent of American adults live with a mental disorder in any given year, and 46 percent will develop a mental disorder over the course of their lifetime. We hear, again and again, about the perils of technology on mental health. But what if we could use this tool in our favor? How can we manipulate IT (information technology) to improve mental health in the workplace?
These fall in a category we like to call “coding for good.” These apps benefit both clinicians and clients, given they save money, time and provide accessibility to users who would otherwise find it difficult to address their mental health concerns. Smart coding can lead to easily navigable apps that could be accessed by even the least tech-savvy employee. 24-hour service could provide excellent supplemental help for people who already seek more traditional venues, like therapy or medication. Not to mention, mental health apps decrease costs to employees while allowing them to keep their anonymity when seeking help. A few great mental health apps are What’s Up, MindShift, Happify, Headspace and Calm – but you can find a plethora of others, targeting mental health issues ranging from anxiety and depression, to eating disorders and OCD.
Design and coding go hand-in-hand. IT is a key component that allows IT specialists and UX (user experience) designers to create virtual spaces that are comfortable for all users. Case in point: Sidebench, an app and software development company, which recently partnered with the WITH Foundation to help designers, developers, and founders think about how designing with disabilities in mind can actually improve the user experience for those seeking help online. Minimizing the complexity of displayed content, embedding realistic images, and coding for a platform that encourages inclusivity and a sense of community are just a few ways in which coders and designers can employ their skills to support and enhance users’ mental health.
Technology is the backbone of digital tools that help employees better understand and care for themselves. There’s a lot of smart coding behind self-assessment tools, self-management programs and tool kits and materials for organizations and employers to deliver mental health and stress management education. A few educational and self-assessment tools we love? Mental Health Meter, Organizational Assessment, and How Resilient Are You?