Workers in the U.K. are open to using a range of technologies — from online chatrooms, mobile apps and GP services to artificial intelligence and virtual reality — to help look after their mental health, according to results of a survey from Accenture.
The survey of more than 2,000 workers in the U.K. found that four in ten people (39 percent) are already using technology — such as online services, mobile apps and wearables — to manage stress, improve sleep and boost mental wellbeing; the number is even greater — 46 percent — among those who have experienced mental health issues. This proactive use of technology is happening as significant proportions of people report mental health challenges, with more than half (55 percent) of respondents saying they’re either experiencing mental health issues now or have had mental health issues in the past.
Not surprisingly, most workers (77 percent) believe that people should take proactive steps to manage their mental health, and more than half (57 percent) believe that apps and online technologies are going to become the first option many people use to do so. The majority have used or would use online counselling services or helplines (72 percent), apps for meditation or relaxation (69 percent), online chatrooms and support groups (67 percent) and interactive GP services (65 percent). In addition, approximately half (52 percent) would use a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence to support their mental wellbeing, and slightly more (55 percent) believe that virtual reality can be helpful in managing mental health issues.
Two-thirds (67 percent) of workers who have used technology to support their mental health said their choice of technology was based on recommendations from healthcare professionals. However, one in three workers (32 percent) are willing to use technology to support their mental health without any professional guidance, and three in four (75 percent) would consider using tech without knowing how well it was tested.