Technologies will help but not solve the emerging COVID-19 mental health crisis, says GlobalData

The COVID-19 pandemic presents significant growth opportunities for mental health and wellbeing technologies, however, telemedicine cannot replace in-person visits and these innovations will not resolve the upcoming crisis as it is novel and unprecedented, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Urte Jakimaviciute, MSc, Senior Director of Market Research, commented: “The pandemic is predicted to plunge the global economy into the deepest crisis since the Great Depression, which will deepen effects on mental health. While the full impact of the Great Depression on populations’ mental health has not been quantified, economic downturns in general are associated with higher levels of mental health issues, including suicidal behaviour, mental illnesses, and substance abuse disorders that emerge in the years ahead.

“Even though many governments are doing their utmost to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and people, with so many uncertainties surrounding the future of the pandemic, the surge in mental health issues in populations is only going to increase. If second waves of COVID-19 emerge, they may further damage economies, resulting in longer and more widespread effects on mental health.”

While technologies will not eliminate the upcoming mental health crisis, they can still play a significant role in mitigating the effect and building resilience. With social distancing becoming a norm, turning to technologies to manage mental health may be the only option many people have.

Due to COVID-19, many therapists have shifted to using telehealth to replace in-person therapies. National health services have started providing free access to mental health and wellbeing apps to support their staff, and healthcare benefits companies have initiated collaborations with tech providers to deliver mental wellbeing services and apps to their members.

Jakimaviciute concludes, “Even though infectious disease outbreaks and their impact on mental health have been witnessed in the past, the extent of the current COVID-19 outbreak is something that countries have not experienced in modern times.”

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