Mental Health and RPM
Mental illness has been a growing concern for many Americans, particularly with the advent of the pandemic, which has only exacerbated feelings of loneliness and isolation. The 2021 State of Mental Health in America report highlights the dire state of the country’s mental health, with 19% of Americans reporting a mental illness in 2017-2018, an increase of 1.5 million people from the previous year. The report also shows that the number of adults with significant suicidal thoughts has risen by 460,000 people in the same period.
Mental illness does not discriminate based on age, and this is reflected in the report, which shows that 9.7% of American adolescents suffered from severe major depression in 2017-2018. Unfortunately, only 60% of these young people had access to mental health treatment. Even in states with the greatest resource availability, many individuals went untreated.
This is where Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) comes into play. As technology advances, experts hope that RPM will help treat and understand more people with mental illness. RPM is a way to remotely monitor symptoms and indicators of mental illness using sensors and wearable technology. This data is then sent to a cloud database, which can be accessed by healthcare professionals from anywhere at any time.
The symptoms and indicators of mental illness can vary, but some common warning signs include feelings of isolation or sadness, difficulty concentrating, excessive worry and fear, intense guilt, fatigue, hallucinations or delusions, significant changes in eating patterns, violent or extreme anger, suicidal thoughts, and even physical pain such as headaches, backaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained aches and pains.
With RPM, healthcare professionals can continuously monitor their patients and modify the course of therapy if necessary. Early identification of mental illness symptoms can be essential for effective treatment and to save unnecessary medical costs. In severe cases, early treatment can even save lives.
While RPM may not work for all psychiatric patients and diseases, it has the potential to assist in patient monitoring and preventing severe mental illness episodes from occurring. RPM for behavioral health is still in its infancy, but with the advancements in technology, it is expected to advance in the coming years.
In conclusion, RPM is a promising tool for better mental health, and it has the potential to change the way we treat and understand mental illness. With its ability to monitor symptoms and indicators of mental illness, RPM offers a path to better treatment and a brighter future for those struggling with behavioral health.