Challenge ahead: Harnessing technology for good mental health

Mak­ing tech­nol­o­gy an ally in men­tal health care (Fun­dación Inno­vación Bankinter):

Inter­est in using tech­nol­o­gy for men­tal health dates back to the mid twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. “Stud­ies began back in the 1960s, giv­en the grow­ing con­cern about addic­tion in chil­dren (espe­cial­ly) and adults,” clar­i­fies Álvaro Fer­nán­dez Ibáñez about the begin­ning of this discipline.

Sesame Street, the well-known Amer­i­can show, is a project that devel­oped to “mas­ter the addic­tive qual­i­ties of tele­vi­sion and do some­thing good with them“, in the words of its pro­duc­ers. As Fer­nán­dez Ibáñez points out, these pro­grams appeared to “chan­nel tech­nol­o­gy in a way that is ben­e­fi­cial to cog­ni­tive and men­tal health,” which indi­cates that this inter­est is not temporary.

But it is new in oth­er areas. For obvi­ous rea­sons, the study of the Inter­net and social net­works is much more recent than that of tele­vi­sion, and is usu­al­ly divid­ed into two major trends:

  • on the one hand, “under­stand­ing and pre­vent­ing harm­ful effects” as may be the case with Face­book or Instagram;
  • on the oth­er, “pro­mot­ing ben­e­fi­cial effects” of plat­forms that help detect anx­i­ety prob­lems, depres­sion, or “med­i­ta­tion and cog­ni­tive behav­ioral ther­a­py apps”, among others…

Often, tech­nol­o­gy per­ceived as good or bad is the same tech­nol­o­gy, but used in two dif­fer­ent ways. At Sharp­Brains they have been “ana­lyz­ing and pro­mot­ing sci­ence and indus­try” for more than a decade and push­ing tech­nol­o­gy in the direc­tion of per­va­sive neu­rotech­nol­o­gy, or non-inva­sive neurotechnology…

Tech­nol­o­gy can not only help us grow out of unhealthy habits, it is also pos­si­ble to expand human men­tal capac­i­ties. Álvaro Fer­nán­dez Ibáñez points out about this that it can and should be done, although it will be nec­es­sary to ana­lyze “the how and when” of these uses: they must be eth­i­cal­ly sound and ensure that results are ben­e­fi­cial to society.

» Read Full Arti­cle HERE

» Also avail­able in Span­ish: Cómo hac­er de la tec­nología un ali­a­do en el cuida­do de la salud mental

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About SharpBrains

SHARPBRAINS is an independent think-tank and consulting firm providing services at the frontier of applied neuroscience, health, leadership and innovation.
SHARPBRAINS es un think-tank y consultoría independiente proporcionando servicios para la neurociencia aplicada, salud, liderazgo e innovación.

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