Does Technology Impact Mental Health Recovery?

June 27, 2013 Natalie Jeanne Champagne

I am certain that my grandfather-diagnosed with bipolar disorder in his early twenties-was not affected by technology. He was probably not bombarded by an onslaught of information available at our fingertips. This poses the question: How does rapidly evolving technology influence our mental health recovery?

Defining "Technology"

Yes, I know. You know what technology is but let me summarize it anyway:

>Cell phones and all that weird Bluetooth related stuff I don't quite understand.

>The iPad or any device pretending it is an iPad and costing much less

>The television

>Internet (!)

>Video gaming systems

And a large amount of other products and services. Where am I going here? Well, I think technology impacts our mental health--our recovery--both positively and negatively.

The Positive Impact of Technology on Mental Health

>We are able to connect with people who struggle with--and recover from--a mental illness.

>We can share our opinion, our experiences, while being "anonymous" AKA I am currently wearing a rather hideous gym shirt, but you cannot see this. Jokes aside, it's important we feel safe sharing personal parts of our lives. The internet can be a great place to do this.

>We have a wealth of information. We can now "research" mental health and, if done correctly, use this information to make positive strides forward.

>The most important thing: We don't need to feel as alone in our battle.

I'm focusing primarily on the internet because it's the most widely used when we are focusing on mental health, but the ability to pick up a phone and call someone is important. If we need to take some time out we can watch television, but like all good things, technology has negatives.

The Negative Impact of Technology on Mental Health

The strange thing is that all of the positive attributes I detailed above can translate into negative experiences.

>While connecting with others online can he helpful, we need to make sure those we interact with are positive. We don't need to interact with those who, for example, tell us what medications we should or should not take.

>We can share our opinion and, as I mentioned, maintain anonymity. But the internet does not always protect our privacy and we need to make sure we only provide information we are comfortable sharing.

>The ability to research medication. I hesitate to say that this can be more of a detriment than a positive. For example: If you are prescribed a new medication you might immediately go home and Google it. You might read pages of side-effects. Try not to "research" specific medications online, but do take time to find recovery related websites.

>Technology can impact our sleep-cycle. Instead of reading a book we might watch TV or (and I am guilty of this) play ridiculous games on our iPad or computer.

Yes, technology impacts our mental health but it's like anything else when working to recover from mental illness---find the positives and do your best to ignore the negatives.

APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2013, June 27). Does Technology Impact Mental Health Recovery?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 18 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

July, 6 2013 at 5:50 am

This is good advice. Self moderating is perhaps the key to avoiding the negatives of technology use. I go on Pinterest, and Kongregate, and have find they help me deal with my depression and anxiety, but if I spend too long on a game, for example, my mood begins to go back down.
I have found one of the best boosts to an episode of milder depression is getting out the house, my problem is that I also have M.E.! I know it can be difficult for all sorts of reasons for people to get out and about. But I do urge readers to get outdoors if they can, the push to get out the door is worth it. Balancing use of the internet with spells just people watching in town, or sitting in a park, means having the benefits of online activity while keeping in touch with the 'real' world.
Hope this makes sense!

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