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    Tech and Mental Health: It’s been a long pandemic

    Do you remember the moment you went into pandemic lockdown? No one had any idea how long it would last. A few weeks? A couple of months?

     

    In Florida, the first detection of the coronavirus came on March 1. Soon, Disney World announced that that it would close on March 15. Bars and nightclubs started closing two days later, and by April 1, the Sunshine State was under statewide stay-at-home orders.

     

    After more than a year, the impact on our mental health is undoubtedly on many Realtors’ minds. Many are parents, and the effect of the pandemic on their kids and remote learning certainly is taking the spotlight as students finally return to part-time and full-time in-person classes.

     

    Tech & Mental Health

    While tech stress and Zoom gloom are real, some positive tech improvements have emerged related to mental health. The National Institute of Mental Health notes that mobile devices have provided a new gateway for doctors and researchers.

     

    Mobile mental health support rapidly emerged during the pandemic, providing better and swifter access to health support. New mobile apps appeared to allow Telehealth medical appointments, monitor physical activity, track dietary consumption, digitally record weight changes with smart scales, and more.

     

    This is the upside of technology during the pandemic. Today, anyone needing mental health support can send a text message to contact a crisis center. New apps are promising to improve memory and thinking skills. Apps even use built-in sensors to collect information on our behavior patterns.

     

    All of this new technology brings pros and cons, which need individual evaluation. New Telehealth tools increase access and convenience to medical care and mental health support. For those who put off seeing a medical professional – such as a real estate agent with an insanely busy schedule – using an app might help overcome that hurdle.

     

    With more than 10,000 mobile medical apps in the market, the biggest concern with these new apps is their effectiveness. Obtaining supporting science takes time, and how well they work and whom they work best for are questions that loom. Privacy is another primary concern, as these apps tap into highly sensitive and personal information.

     

    Yet, the mobile medical movement is creating new partnerships between clinicians and engineers. Apps based on science and powered by exceptional technology are emerging that can help someone stop smoking or assist with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

     

    For real estate agents who thrive on face-to-face interaction, the pandemic has been particularly brutal. Reducing stress levels has become more crucial than ever, and there are some great apps to help agents do just that. Here’s a link to more than a dozen.

     

    One of the most popular stress management apps is Calm, available in the App Store and Google Play. With 100 million downloads and 1.5 million 5-star reviews, it has become the top-ranked app for mediation, relaxation, and sleep.

     

    Calm features music and the sounds of nature to help you “focus, relax, and sleep.” Video lessons focus on movement and stretching. Masterclass audio programs help strengthen mental fitness, addressing topics including stress, depression, insomnia and anxiety.

     

    The prevalence of Telehealth also has soared in use during the COVID outbreak. With more and more doctors and therapists offering Telehealth appointments, accessibility has never been greater.

     

    Telehealth also is making care more affordable. Offering live, highly secure (no Zoom bombing issues here) video conferencing, getting an appointment with your doctor for consultations and treatment is more accessible and often faster than scheduling an in-person meeting.

     

    New technology is extending the benefits of Telehealth with remote patient monitoring. RPM tools electronically record personal health and medical data and send it digitally and securely to your health professional.

     

    With these new tech tools do come new tech challenges. Fortunately, if your association or MLS provides Tech Helpline as a member benefit, analysts are available to help you with your technology challenges – even non-real estate related ones!

     

    If you are trying to set up one of these new apps and need assistance in trying to figure out how to install it or configure your settings, you can call, click or text to reach a Tech Helpline analyst for support.