May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Behavioral health encompasses many areas for adults and children alike, making it a great area to explore for a research paper.
While much remains to be done in regards to how we treat mental health problems, there are some emerging trends, such as the Eliza app, that are changing our approach.
A serious issue
Many may not realize the scope of mental illness and disorders in the U.S. Mental Health Awareness Month is a great time to educate the public about the fact that one in five people deal with some form of a mental health illness every year. A research paper could look at how mental health and behavioral health has been handled historically in our country, from successes to failures.
Lynn Jenkins posted “Lynn Jenkins: Mental health awareness must be more than one-month-a-year issue” for cjonline.com on May 8, 2016, with more on her efforts to address behavioral health concerns in the state of Kansas. She included potential signs someone is suffering from a mental health problem, such as fatigue, a lack of energy and sleeping too much, overeating, loss of appetite or withdrawing from others and neglecting responsibilities. She added, “To be clear, these actions do not automatically mean there is an underlying mental health issue, but recognizing the symptoms encourages folks to reach out to others and provide a friend in a time of need.”
Emerging trends in treatment
The attention that Mental Health Awareness month brings to the effects and treatment of mental illness in America is great, but one more positive change should be noted. It used to be that the only options for someone suffering from a behavioral health problem was to go to the emergency room or to call a crisis hotline. Emerging trends are offering new hope. Michael Levin-Epstein wrote, “Walk-In Behavioral Health Clinics Emerge as Potential Trend: The Increase Is Related to a Variety of Factors Including Heightened Awareness” for the Spring 2015 issue of Behavioral Healthcare about this new option.
He linked the development to the high percentage of military personnel returning from overseas and the increased concern over terrorism, as well as the mental health issues that have arisen around recent mass shootings, as the impetus for the creation of these types of clinics. Currently the clinics are available in only a few states. A research paper could explore behavioral health in the context of military personnel or from the angle of the increase in mass shootings.
Helping yourself with mental health
Technology is catching on when it comes to Mental Health Awareness month, too. Other emerging trends include the new Eliza app, which allows you to analyze your own feelings with your smartphone. “The Eliza app makes mental health tracking as easy as talking to yourself” posted on May 8, 2016, by Lora Kolodny for techcrunch.com.
The user simply records him or herself talking about the issue bothering them, and the app creates an infographic based on their words, tones and speech patterns. Not only does this give the user a way to view their feelings over time, but it also can be shared with a behavioral health professional to let them know if their treatment has been effective. Ways that the latest technology could have a positive impact on addressing mental health is another research paper topic to consider.
Are there other emerging trends in behavioral health that you would like to see? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.