The global cost of mental illness is estimated to be £1.6trillion. In the UK alone, 1 in 4 adults suffer from depression at some point in their life.
Mental health interventions at an individual level are critical in developing a robust health and wellbeing ecosystem for the entire population to bring about social and economic prosperity, and equality in society.
Digital mental health interventions use the power and reach of internet and the ubiquitous usage of smart devices to deliver interventions 24/7, whenever the individual needs it most, and personalised to the needs and wants of the individual user.
When mental health is tackled at an individual level, there is a trickledown effect on the society at large. The economic burden of mental health to the society lessens considerably as the individual is less likely to visit the healthcare provider with everyday day stress and anxiety freeing up valuable time and resources for critical matters.
There is also knockdown effect on healthcare costs putting fewer burdens on economy of the healthcare provider like NHS. The NHS also acknowledges the far reaching potential of digital interventions to improve mental health outcomes.
The society at large benefits from the domino effects of such individual and community interventions that lead to improved mental health and wellbeing, better education opportunity, higher income propensity, healthy workplace productivity, lower crimes and lesser economic burden on government.
So, the mental health outcomes of a successful digital mental health intervention percolates from the individual at the lowest level right to the society and governments at the highest level.
Digital interventions alleviates everyday mental distress as it fits well around people’s routine lives being available on the mobile/web device 24/7 and whenever the user needs it most.
It prevents progression to severe symptomatic conditions as it helps reduce stress and anxiety on a daily basis. The pattern and/or trigger of major symptoms developing are recognised early and corrective measures can be initiated to prevent it's further deterioration.
It reduces potential mental health costs associated with depression including need for drugs and CBT, workplace absenteeism, job losses, reduced social life and even becoming a misfit in society.
Digital interventions complement existing pharmacological and psychological treatments. It can help the patient cope up better during the course of the drug and CBT interventions by providing an additional tailored therapeutic tool to aid his/her recovery. It can also be the only therapeutic tool in the post-recovery phase.
It can reduce drug dependency and drug related side effects by being the first line of treatment/therapy when the symptoms appear and are mild enough or as a complement or as a post-recovery therapeutic tool.
It can reduce healthcare costs as they are far less expensive than current treatment/therapy.
Mental distress is one of the biggest causes of absenteeism and reduced workplace productivity.
Digital interventions help employees take better care of their mental health while the employer can also monitor its employees for signs and symptoms of mental fatigue and distress and take corrective action using a mental health coach or their HR department.
Digital interventions can free up time and resources of GPs, doctors, consultants and nurses for them to devote time to clinical and severe conditions requiring greater attention.
It has the potential to reduce hospital admissions by dealing with stress, anxiety and mild depressions much earlier and through constant monitoring of patients.
The benefit of improved mental health to the society at large is considerable that includes
- better physical health;
- reductions in health-damaging behaviour;
- greater educational achievement;
- improved productivity;
- higher incomes;
- reduced absenteeism;
- less crime;
- more participation in community life;
- improved overall functioning;
- reduced mortality; and
- reduced economic burden on society and government.