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The Impact of Technology on Mental Health

Updated: Feb 19, 2023

Researcher & Writer: Kashish JAIN

Illustrator: Shail PATEL

Technology has now become a vital part of our daily lives, and we, as a society, are becoming increasingly dependent on it as it continues to develop. The more our lives get reliant on technology, the greater the impact social media and other online platforms have on us. In this article, let’s explore the impacts of technology on mental health and the consequences of how the issue is portrayed.

The advancements of new technology has opened a huge door for mental health support. With our phones and the internet connecting us, anyone struggling can easily seek help by finding someone online. The internet enables us to have the ability to contact people on the other side of the world, making communication between experts and people in need more accessible . In addition to this, the internet creates a sense of community for people struggling with their mental health. There are many online groups and communities which bring people struggling with similar problems together. This can be really helpful for people struggling with this issue as it shows them they are not alone and can possibly provide a beacon of hope for recovery and happiness for the future. Furthermore, there are many apps and websites which can be used for habit, behaviour and recovery tracking. Through the use of such technology, you can track your progress, map your journey and create goals and targets which combined can play a major role in recovery. Technology overall has enabled efficiency in communication, provided resources for people looking for recovery, and helped destigmatize mental health issues.


However, studies show that the media and news both provide extremely dramatic, distorted and exaggerated views on mental health disorders. The news tends to stereotype people with mental health issues to be dangerous, unpredictable, and vindictive. The consequences of fabricated portrayals of mental health can lead to stigma for the viewers, which is really bad as it makes people feel shameful and unworthy because of their condition.


For example, research conducted by Nancy Signorielli (2009) investigated the creation of untrue stereotypes by the media. After watching over 1215 episodes of 17 broadcasted television shows, Signorielli discovered that 72% of characters with a mental illness were portrayed as violent. However, studies from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services contradicts this by stating ‘The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else’. In addition to this, Signorielli also found that one in four mentally ill characters killed another character, and half were shown as hurting others. Numerous other studies have been conducted with similar results found.

Furthermore, you can see an example of how the media shows people suffering from anxiety and depression as violent and unstable in the movie Joker. In the movie Joker, the main character was portrayed with a mental illness which caused him to be excessively violent. As we know from Signorielli’s research, this is an inaccurate representation of people with mental

health disorders, and could result in detrimental

societal stigmas and misleading information.


In conclusion, I believe that it is important to emphasise that although technology may enable accessibility and quick communication, it also contributes to creating a negative stereotype and misleading others around the topic.


Bibliography

Technology and the Future of Mental Health Treatment (2021, April). Retrieved 18th December 2022 from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/technology-and-the-future-of-mental-health-treatment


Media portrayal of mental illness and its treatments: what effect does it have on people with mental illness? (Unknown). Retrieved 18th December 2022 from:


N. Signorielli. (2009). The stigma of mental illness on television. Retrieved 28th January 2023 from: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08838158909364085




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