Digital devices can be used to gather data about mental health in a systematic way that can empower individuals to address their behavior and seek support. According to commentary from Nicholas B. Allen, PhD., a digital and mental health expert with the Department of Psychology at Oregon University, apps on our digital devices can be used to track our digital exhaust (data generated by our everyday digital lives and social media use) which can help us gain insights into areas of behavior that impact our foundational building blocks of mental health and illness, such as sleep, mood, physical activity, and social communication. As an example, monitoring sleep patterns and noting social communication changes can provide early warning signs of deteriorating mental health. Having access to these digital tools can reveal real-time, objective data on these patterns and help empower individuals at the onset of the associated symptoms before they become severe, through self-management of behavior or by seeking support from a health professional.
For those needing immediate support, they can contact the Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463) to be connected to mental health and resilience supports.