Using technology for mental wellness

By Ariani Mohd Nor

GOMBAK, 23 October 2020: As technology becomes essential in our everyday lives, especially during isolation times, many wondered if technology is corroding the mental health of many.

Having to unexpectedly shift our focus onto our computer screen rather than the world around us has been inevitably shocking.

However, the combination of technology and mental health does not have to be a double-edged sword like many have believed it to be, according to experts.

A webinar discussing mental health as the ‘next wave of technology’ titled “Let’s Talk: Mental Healtech Using Technology for Mental Wellness” was held on Wednesday (21 October) in recognition of the Global Mental Health Month Programme 2020.

Three panellists from various backgrounds have been invited to share their views.

Dr. Mohd Syarqawy Hamzah, the Deputy Dean of Student Development and Community Engagement, Kulliyyah of Information and Communication Technology (KICT), stated that technology in the form of video games can be useful to help and understand those with mental illnesses.

“Video games being portrayed as an entertainment are only at the tip of the iceberg; in fact, many video ‘gamers’ are only casual players who need an outlet to vent their stress,” Dr. Syarqawy said.

Dr. Syarqawy said that villainizing the technology in terms of mental health will only hinder the progress of today’s technology advancement.

Another panellist, Amirah Hazwani Bakri or Mirahaz, was an Instagram influencer on her path to secure her clinical psychology license.

When asked about how she uses her platform to spread mental health awareness, she started by reminding everyone that “life is not always rainbows.”

“I remind everyone that sometimes things are negative, and we need to see things in a different perspective,” Mirahaz says. “Social media have helped me in spreading that message as I try to normalise not being okay, and it can bring people comfort.”

Being on social media, according to Mirahaz, gives freedom for anyone and everyone to express himself. “Those who express their emotions on Twitter, for example, may be healing to them.”

Dr. Pamilia Lourdunathan, IIUM clinical psychology lecturer, stepped in with promoting mental healthcare within the community, especially IIUM students, with the establishment of the IIUM Mental Health and Psychosocial Team (IMPaCT).

IMPact is an e-counselling programme that can be contacted at impact@iium.edu.my, where those who are in need of their services can schedule sessions with trained professionals through the agreed preferred medium of communication.

Those who wish to seek more resources regarding mental health may also head over to http://flagship.iium.edu.my/eps.

The programme reached a peak of 101 viewers and is a special edition of the Talkathon series for the IIUM Global Mental Health Month Programme (IIUM GMHMP) 2020. Those who wish to attend the other series may head over to the GMHMP Instagram account at @gmhmp2020.***

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