This year is shaping up to be a very good one for mental health awareness. Patrick J. Kennedy and Mariel Hemingway have both been announced as keynote speakers at the first Southeastern Symposium on Mental Health, to be held in Greenville, SC, next month.
The symposium will bring together mental health experts trained on improving the level of care available to people who suffer from mental illnesses. The event is also taking aim at the stigma surrounding mental health.
An article by The Guardian reveals that roughly one in every four Americans will experience some form of mental illness in their lives. There are numerous forms of treatment available, though many industry insiders and experts claim that there is still a long way to go when it comes to removing the stigma surrounding the treatment of mental health.
And it’s imperative that we act quickly — an estimated 15% of people with mental health issues do not seek treatment for their ailments because of the cost and level of difficulty associated with dealing with insurance companies.
The symposium in Greenville next month hopes to tackle some of those issues.
The announcement for the event comes at a time where mental health is getting a lot of its due attention from the rest of the healthcare industry and even independent developers. In recent years, we’ve seen the birth of an entirely new approach to providing healthcare to mental health patients, namely through mobile apps.
Dror Ben-Zeev, director of the mHealth for Mental Health Program at the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center in Lebanon, NH, sees the integration of mental health therapy and technology as one that’s hugely beneficial to patients and helps the industry reach more stigmatized patients.
“We can now reach people that up until recently were completely unreachable to us,” he told the Scientific American.
It appears as if the trends we’re seeing across the industry are here to stay. Typing in “depression” or “PTSD” into your phone’s app store will net you a listing of literally hundreds of apps, all aimed at mediating mental health concerns in our society. Hopefully, it continues to get even easier.