It’s difficult to imagine our lives without technology. Can we imagine how we could have gotten through the pandemic without our mobile phones? From lending a hand to those looking for help to raising awareness about diseases and offering succour at times when there was no way out, technology truly changed our lives for good, for the most part.
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On the occasion of the National Technology Day, we look back on how technology and humans have fared. Dr Srikanth Goggi, a consultant clinical psychologist and the Vice President of the Telangana Association of Clinical Psychologists, suggests that while technology did have a good impact, it still lacked things that one could achieve only through physical appointments.
“Social media and other platforms have greatly impacted the way we look at things around us, especially problem-solving. Content creation has helped a great deal in raising awareness about various issues, including mental health. Now, though technology has helped in connecting with people for any kind of counselling or advice, I must say that it cannot replace a competent mental health professional.
People tend to give out motivational speeches online because many speak from their knowledge or life experiences which help only to a certain extent. Certain problems like emotional disturbance and psychological issues cannot be resolved by just watching a video or a motivational speech. You need professional help which can be achieved only when you meet in person.”
On the other hand, Anna Vijay, a counselling psychologist and a therapist who helps by reaching out to people over online consultations as well, says, “In the field of mental health, where awareness is important, technology is surely helping psychologists, counsellors and therapists reach several people and provide first aid in the form of psychoeducation or coping mechanisms for mental health emergencies. Mental health apps, websites and various social media platforms proved to help spread awareness, and authentic information and the creation of self-help groups.
The best thing about technology today is that mental health is now accessible and readily available. People are starting to accept therapy and counselling.” According to Dr Srilakshmi Pingali, professor of psychiatry at Roshini Counselling Centre, Begumpet, technology is a double -edged sword: “Social media brings with it the gift of anonymity — it allows you to discuss or ask your questions to experts while helping keep the stigma at bay.
There are also chat groups where like-minded people would discuss similar issues. But the reason I call it a double-edged sword is because today, many patients, instead of consulting doctors, browse their symptoms and sometimes terrifying diagnoses come up and without even verifying it, they panic. Chat groups discourage people from taking medication, so without proper understanding, people respond to whatever they learn on the internet. So it’s all about using technology well and not having it alone.”