Mental health has become a talking point in nearly every industry. Stress, trauma, insomnia, and other circumstances can drastically affect the way a person’s brain functions. As entrepreneurs, we’re often told to look for signs of burnout and stress in our employees and ourselves.
For mental wellness solutions, help usually comes in the form of therapy, medication, or lifestyle changes. But in recent years, there have been new options coming from surprising sources—biometric feedback and virtual reality.
Technology Lends A Hand
When people try to come up with reasons for the prevalence of anxiety, PTSD, and depression in modern society, technology might be near the top. And in some ways, it’s true. Overuse of social media and hours of daily screen time can be mentally damaging, especially for teens. If you spend hours every day in front of a computer to do your job, you know how mentally draining it can be.
The conclusion one could reach is that using more technology to promote mental wellness is a ridiculous idea. But some entrepreneurs and innovators have partnered with medical institutions to do just that. Using science and data, some of these therapeutic technologies have been extremely effective.
One such collaboration has occurred between Healium and Mayo Clinic. In February 2023, Healium announced that they will acquire a total of $3.6 million in private equity investments. In addition, it was announced that they have collaborated with Mayo Clinic in a know-how license agreement. Through this arrangement, Mayo Clinic has agreed to lend their experts to further develop Healium’s fitness and mental health functions.
Mental Wellness Technology Helps Individuals
Healium, which is a Missouri, women-owned business described as a “virtual or augmented reality biofeedback company.” In layman’s terms, it creates a virtual reality influenced by the user’s biometrics and AI. It just goes to show AI can be used for more than generating college term papers.
For example, an individual trying to use stress coping mechanisms such as meditation might struggle with whether or not their efforts are working. Healium can create a visual representation of an individual’s stress levels by using data from smart watches or other fitness trackers. That way, the person can see in real time if their meditation technique is proving effective.
Healium CEO Sarah Hill and Dr. Jeff Tarrant developed the technology in 2016. A former television broadcaster, Hill wanted to create a way to negate the emotionally damaging images she witnessed at her job.
“Media images can be hurtful but when compounded differently into something soothing, they can also heal,” said Hill. “These are powerful, drugless, portable coping mechanisms for this mental health emergency that quickly interrupt the stress response.”
The company also has a sleep product called Sleepium that’s a drugless way to downshift the nervous system before falling asleep. Instead of watching or listening to a bedtime story on your phone, you’re actually inside the story in the goggles. VR goggles now come equipped with blue light filters.
Mental Wellness Is Good For Business
Tech advancements in mental health is obviously a good thing from a whole-world point of view. But for entrepreneurs and business owners, it’s also a good thing for your employees’ wellbeing and for your bottom line.
Insomnia and sleep deprivation alone can be more expensive than you think. It’s estimated that in the United States, more than $400 billion is lost each year due to sleep-deprived workers.
Stress and burnout in your workers can lead to high turnover, low productivity, and more errors. Even if their job is not the root cause of their stress, the effects are likely noticeable in the workplace. If technology makes mental health assistance cheaper and more readily available, it’s a win-win for everyone.
So as mental wellness technology becomes more accessible and effective, entrepreneurs should take notice. Some may want to develop their own products or simply use new tools to lower workplace stress. Whichever prospect you prefer, tech advancements in the mental health field can have a great impact on your business.
Featured Image Credit: Bradley Hook; Pexels; Thanks!