“Text messaging”- an effective add-on strategy to be inculcated in mental health therapy.
Srishti Shankar, INN/Delhi, @shankar_srishti
In the US, approximately 19 per cent of the adult-population is found to have been suffering from one or the other form of diagnosable mental illness. There are almost 575,000 mental health specialists which are now coming up with new ideologies and strategies in order to provide help to the masses. Clinic-based services for mental health may fall short of meeting patient needs for many reasons including limited hours, difficulty accessing care and cost. In the first randomized controlled trial of its kind, a research team investigated the impact of a texting intervention as an add-on to a mental health treatment program versus one without texting.
According to professors and researchers from Dartmouth College- “a text-messaging-based intervention can be a safe, clinically promising and feasible tool to augment care for people with serious mental illness”, adding up to this,
After having asked them for the feedback, it stated that- “Ninety-one per cent of participants found the text-messaging acceptable, 94 per cent indicated that it made them feel better and 87 per cent said they would recommend it to a friend.”
Keeping into consideration the adversity of the current situation. We can solely agree that text-based interface can bridge the gap between the therapists and their patients in order to provide them with a means for mental health services to be continuously delivered.
Text-messaging psychotherapy is an excellent match for the current environment, as it provides asynchronous contact with a mental health therapist while increasing the amount of contact that an individual can have. The studies concluded that the impact of inculcating text-based therapies as an add on to-an assertive community treatment program versus the latter alone has turned out to be marvellous!
The study was a three-month pilot, which was assessor blind. There were 49 participants: 62 per cent had schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, 24 per cent had bipolar disorder and 14 per cent had depression. Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-trial (three months later) and during a follow-up six months later.
The results demonstrated that 95 per cent initiated the intervention and texted 69 per cent of possible days with an average of four texts per day. On average, participants sent roughly 165 or more text messages and received 158 or more messages. The intervention was found to be safe, as there were zero adverse events reported.
Another question which might arise-talks about the license and certifications of these mobile interventionalists.
Well, the survey has taken care of all such discrepancies which might flagellate in the near future by carrying out well-crafted drives in order to allow only the licensed individuals(having full knowledge about different forms of mental health)- to be given the task to become a full-fledged interventionalist, within the given-respective domains and platforms.
As, the study has highlighted the beginning of this entire-newly furnished strategy, gaining importance day by day. The researchers are planning to study the impact of a messaging intervention in mental health on a much larger scale.