Ry Morgan, COO & Product Strategy, Unmind: “How Covid-19 has transformed technology & mental health”

Throughout lockdown, we’ve all become more reliant on technology. From video calling friends and family to streaming entertainment and buying groceries online, our devices have helped us navigate this new situation. But perhaps the most profound benefit we’ve seen from technology over the last couple of months is how it can support our mental health.

Video calling has enabled families to connect with each other across the world, at any time of day, cultivating some sense of belonging and togetherness. Mental health apps and platforms have provided quality support for people experiencing stress and anxiety as a result of the pandemic, wherever they are. This accessibility – and scalability – has become more important than ever as the vast majority of work from home, separated from our usual points of contact.

The scale to which the appetite for mental health support has surged in this country is unprecedented. A recent report from Unmind and REBA demonstrated that almost 8 in 10 employers have experienced a rise in requests for mental health support for their staff.

While it’s incredibly important that we counter the short-term impact the pandemic is having on our wellbeing, we must also remember that mental health is not something we only need to take care of when it is deteriorating. We all have mental health all of the time, and part of the transformative potential of technology is allowing everyone – no matter where they sit on the spectrum, from surviving to thriving – to proactively look after and improve their own mental wellbeing. This is something traditional one-to-one methods of mental healthcare simply can’t deliver at scale.

The pandemic has brought the topic of mental health into the limelight, and as a nation, we’re realising how technology can support it. As the lockdown eases, we must not forget these lessons learnt. Promisingly, Unmind and REBA’s report found that 60% of organisations are planning to invest in digital mental health tools and platforms as a result of the Covid-19.

The pandemic has transformed our relationship with technology – and we must not lose sight of these benefits after lockdown. It’s time now for businesses to break the stigma, to harness the potential that mental health technology offers, and to invest in their employees’ wellbeing.