Using technology to address mental health

Statistics show that three out of four people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder as an adult showed signs of a problem before the age of 24, but only one out of five of those individuals ever received treatment. A recent study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation sought to understand the way that youth ages 14-24 thinks about using technology to meet their mental health needs, and their willingness to use it.

The study.

Telemental health (the use of technology to for mental health care) offers benefits that traditional methods cannot. It’s easily accessible, offers a greater sense of privacy or, in some cases, anonymity, and it utilizes technology that adolescents are comfortable using. But are these advantages enough to encourage teens and young adults to seek help?

Through the use of online surveys and polling technology at interactive events, researchers were able to gain a better understanding of the needs and perceptions of local high school and college students. The survey included both questions related to an individual’s mental state and questions regarding their willingness to seek help through the use of technology.

The findings.

Of the over 4,000 youth ages 14-24 who were surveyed …

  • Over half reported a stress level of over seven on a scale from 1-10
  • One in 9 experienced a severe level of psychological distress due to depression and/or anxiety
  • Some youth prefer to use technology to reach out for support, but over half would rather talk to someone face-to-face
  • Most youth have not utilized many of the mental health resources available through technology

The implications.

Technology is an important tool that can be used to meet the mental health needs of teens and young adults, but it is not a replacement for face-to-face interactions. Many of the individuals surveyed were not aware of the technology available, and their preferences for how to seek help for their stress or problems varied.


For information about telemental health resources, or providers of mental health services in northeast Indiana, visit Parkview Research Center Examples and Services. For immediate assistance, you can call the Parkview Behavioral Health HelpLine at (260) 373-7500

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