I imagine a world where everyone who is going through a struggle knows they have a safe place that’s accessible and affordable where they can meet people facing the same challenges, with a professional mental health expert leading their group. But most importantly, they should feel no shame while doing so.
Today, when most people think of mental health, they think “crazy”, “weak”, or “other people.” There’s a dichotomy between those who need mental health services and those who don’t. Between those who seek help from psychologists and psychiatrists, and “normal” people who use neither. This is a broken construct, and it isn’t relevant to the lives we live today.
Mental health is no longer a yes or no question. It’s a spectrum, and all of us are on it. All of us are moving between the axis of feeling powerful and strong or feeling like we can’t get out of bed in the morning. Sometimes we have great periods when amazing things happen, and sometimes, s**t happens. Life in modern times, with all its connectivity and stress, takes a toll.
We are in the midst of a mental health revolution. Like the medical revolution, mental health is becoming a commodity. A commodity each one of us will consume, and it’s becoming normalized. No more shame, no more keeping it inside, no more feeling lonely – the world is about to change. Just like we’ve learned to meet our physical needs: our mental health needs are going to be met.
The future of mental health as I see it:
- Specific per need – We all go through so much in our lives – we experience separation, failures, illness and more. Each life event, like losing someone, brings with it mental challenges that are hard to cope with, especially in the fast-paced era in which we live. People will start to consume small, specific mental health products that are customized to the specific challenges they are facing.
- Personalized – Leveraging technology, people will use apps that will learn about their needs and coping strategies. The apps will be able to offer personalized, real time, on-time solutions and tools for users. The information will be cumulative and will be more effective each time, based on the ‘wisdom of the crowd’ and the user’s experience.
- Hybrid (peer and professional) – Mental health was the domain of professionals for many years. In the recent decade, we learned that peer support and lived experience is just as effective. Social networks made peer support accessible, and people are connecting and communicating around mutual challenges. Already now, but much more in the future, we will see more and more hybrid models where peer support guided by mental health professionals is a common practice.
- Short term interventions, long term relationships – We live in a crazy time with so much information coming our way and so many online interactions. People are less and less likely to commit to long term relationships or processes. We want everything here and now. Nowadays, traditional mental health treatment is a long term commitment of an hour every week, for an unknown period of time (at least at the beginning). Today, People are looking for short term interventions which will assist them to get tools, feel heard and understood, process what they’re going through and move on. They want to keep in touch and have long term relationships with their peers who went through the same challenges, and who were there for them during difficult times. That’s where technology will come in handy.
- Accessible (online and financially) – Mental health is expensive, climbing all the way to hundreds of dollars per meeting. We will see more and more services with ground-breaking business models that will challenge the cost of mental health services without compromising on the quality of the service. It could even have the added benefit of enhancing the level of service received. Finding the right service, with the right group of people facing exactly what you’re facing, is hard. Sometimes it’s impossible. Again, technology will come to the rescue with the ability to match you with the right people, with no geographical barriers.
The mental health revolution is already upon us, with amazing initiatives that are set to change the mental health world for the better. We are ready to help people get out of the dark silos they’re caught in because of the stigma and fear. No more. Things are about to change.