Few industries (if any at all) have been able to escape the effects of the Digital Revolution. Now those in healthcare, I feel, need to pay this phenomenon special attention. Pre-Selfie times, the ball was really in the provider’s court – it was the physicians, the technicians, the drug companies, etc. who were undeniably the primary overseers of treatment. But nowadays, the power has shifted, a transition triggered by patients’ newfound access to two things: knowledge and technology. Perhaps you’ve treated your own frustrating backache by visiting WebMd.com, or replaced an expensive over-the-counter allergy drug with a simple home remedy mentioned in a Health.com article. Maybe you’ve ended your relationship with your gym (and its pricey membership) because you now have MyFitnessPal on your iPhone, or no longer pay “Ms. Nutritionist, Certified RD” for healthy recipe ideas since you can discover them at ease through Green Kitchen Stories. Welcome to the age of the prosumer, the propatient, the “I have an ailment, but maybe I can solve it on my own” era.
Now the stories I painted for you above all deal really with physical issues. To be sure, digital health innovations really started there – think: fitness Apps, medical Websites, health blogs, and so on. The nuance to this nuance, then, is it is now seeping into the world mental health. In one word: mychiatry.
The term is pretty self explanatory – break it down and you can get the rough translation of “my psychiatry.” It again, then, is all about patient empowerment, something that’s more difficult for the mentally ill to secure because they face many other challenges: social stigma, unproven treatment, misdiagnoses, etc. I speak from not professional experience, but personal ones: I have friends who suffer from depression, family members who struggle with eating disorders, classmates who need Adderall to get through the school day. Problems begin from doctor visit number one: how can patients be expected to explain and describe a problem to someone, when they don’t even understand it themselves? So here is where knowledge and technology come into play, where mychiatry really shows promise.
In fact, the phenomenon was one of those listed in Trend Watcher’s 7 Consumer Trends to Run With in 2014 report. “Mind will be the new body,” it summarizes. Bailey Brissin of Dig Magazine confirms: “No longer is obtaining information about our bodies’ activities only accessible through a visit to the doctor. With the click of a button or a download of an app, the world of statistical-overload and self-prescribing is available with open arms.”
This just gives you a taste of all the white papers and news articles addressing this hot topic. But what you’re probably more interested in are the actual mychiatry products that are out there. Here are three of my favorites.
If you have chronic depression (or just need an easy way to deal with everyday modern burdens), try out iMoodJournal. It lets you keep track of and record your moods – after just a few days of digital journaling, and you’re well on your way to self-discovery. I feel my spirit lifted just from seeing the App’s vibrant color scheme.
If you are dealing with an eating disorder (or need some more body confidence), download Body Beautiful. Get inspiring quotes, reach out to and encourage others, and browse personal stories and photos for some extra motivation.
Now if it’s a physical product you’re looking for, check out Melon. The sleek headband not only monitors your mental activity, but enhances it. It’ll help you keep focused on that project you’ve been struggling to finish, relax after a long, stressful day of office meetings, and so on.