Blog: Modern solutions to modern stress
Published: 14 May 2018
Today marks the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, with stress as this year’s theme. Stress has become part of the accepted tapestry of modern life: how many times do you think you have felt or heard ‘I feel stressed’ in the past six months alone? Unsurprisingly, the underlying causes are numerous and closely connected to the way we live in the twenty-first century: anxiously waiting for an email, robotically checking social media feeds, and feeling like we can’t get the mental space we crave.
As a key factor of mental health, the ability to cope with stress doesn’t just make someone more productive, it can fundamentally change the human experience of their lives. I know this truth from personal experience: the way I learned to cope and then thrive was from the hard lessons of fundamentally not coping at all. Over the course of three years I went from being unaware of my mental health, to concealing the issues I was experiencing with anxiety, to finally overcoming stigma to get the help I needed to return to being my happy, productive and best self.
If the impacts are so broad and the causes so connected to modern life, the question becomes - ‘How can our modern lives empower our solutions to stress?’ Digital technology is powerful, pervasive and at our fingertips. It is not a question of whether we use it, or even when; it’s a question of understanding how people are already using it, where it’s going and whether we can speed up and maximise its positive impact.
Later this year I will spend six weeks in the USA on my Churchill Fellowship exploring how workplaces can respond to these questions. A key focus of my research will be translating what can be a rapidly changing, technically complex and intimidating range of digital mental health solutions and case studies into a practical guide that businesses can apply to their workplaces and individuals can use to empower themselves.
The aim of my Fellowship is to use my experience as a Software Developer at Makers Academy and Management Consultant at Deloitte to decode the digital mental health map. I want to connect with and learn from the people behind mental health tech start-ups, mental health bodies and world-class academic research in Silicon Valley, New York and Boston.
If we can understand how to apply digital mental healthcare now, and how it could be applied in the future, we stand the best chance not only to help the next person that experiences mental ill health, but also to manage the stress of modern life in a way that can prevent mental ill health in the first place.
If you are interested in learning more about my Fellowship, please get in touch with me on LinkedIn.