[Answered] Do you think that technology is aggravating the mental health crisis? Give reasons for your arguments.

Introduction: Contextual introduction.
Body: Explain how technology is aggravating the mental health crisis.  Also write some arguments against this.

Conclusion: Write a way forward.

According to WHO, there is no single ‘official’ definition of mental health. Mental disorders are now among the top leading causes of health burden worldwide, with no evidence of global reduction since 1990. The situation has been exacerbated due to the Covid-19 pandemic, making it a serious concern the world over.

Aggravates the mental health crisis:

  • Factors such as loss of self-esteem due to social media, extreme binge-watching of online content or heavy reliance on virtual followers/communities for validation are all contributing to the mental health crisis.
  • Interactions online also tend to be negative. Social comparison, feelings of missing out, and cyberbullying all stem from the content we see online.
  • Aggravation of depression, anxiety and other mental health issues leading to suicide is being repeatedly attributed to technology.
  • According to a study by the National Institutes of Health in the U.S., participants who experienced cyberbullying were more than four times as likely to report thoughts of suicide and attempts as those who did not.
  • Technology and increased screen time (disrupted sleep) has actually fuel mental health crises either due to a disconnect from reality or less real-life social interaction.

While technology is certainly an agent of this complex issue, it can neither be seen as a major cause due to following reasons:

  • According to the NCRB, family problems, illness, substance abuse, and marriage/love-related issues alone contribute to more than two-thirds of the deaths by suicide in India.
  • Technology is improving mental health careprimarily through platforms such as apps based on smartphones and computers that can help provide services and information to clients in a more cost-effective way.
  • Gender inequality, racial, regional and ethnic discrimination could also lead to the mental health problems.
  • Technology has opened a new frontier in mental health support and data collection. Technology providesround-the-clock monitoring or intervention support.
  • The medium of bullying is not the sole culprit; it is the act of bullying itself that needs to be addressed.

Way forward:

  • Awareness campaigns, sensitisation programmes, community support and counselling services are good solutions against bullying either cyber or otherwise.
  • There is need of an inclusive community-based mental health and suicide-prevention approach for more effectiveness.
  • Programme could be implemented through school like programmes supporting ecological changes in schools or at work place like stress prevention programmes.
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