Introducing Nadine H, a volunteer at Inspire in Melbourne.
Nadine writes about her personal experiences and how she thinks
technology can be a powerful tool in treatment of young people with
mental health difficulties. Join her discussion...
Hi everyone. My name is Nadine and I am a volunteer at the
Inspire Foundation. I am also currently studying fourth year
I was invited to share my ideas on the use of technology in
bringing together health care professionals and young people, in
the hope to increase help seeking behaviour.
From my personal experiences, the use of technology in reaching
out to others is definitely a positive and powerful one.
It is human nature to feel embarrassed, cautious and hide our
weaknesses or problems in life from others. Whether these concerns
are minor or major, personal or not, a fear of being judged and
labelled keeps us from expressing our true selves and thoughts.
Technology, such as online forums, acts almost like a protective
mask or barrier for young people suffering and needing to express
these thoughts and feelings. It creates an alternative open channel
between themselves and another, such as a health care professional;
in which they can finally express their concerns in a less
The mobility and flexibility of technology provides the choice
to remain anonymous, comfort and familiarity when accessed from
your own personal settings and reduces the intimidation associated
with face to face contact. All these things help to begin lifting
the constraints on young people, those constraints that do stop
them from seeking help in the first place.
I have found many times before that my own friends have felt too
insecure, intimated or embarrassed to discuss something with me in
person. Hours later they contact me in chat forums, Facebook
messages or even text messages and reveal an issue they need help
with. If a friend has trouble disclosing concerns in person, then
you can only imagine how hard it would be for a suffering
young person to approach a health care professional.
There is the minor setback for the health care professional with
the absence of body language, which can tell a lot more than words
can. However, utilising technology allows you to be contacted in
the first place, makes you more accessible and approachable. Most
importantly, it allows the opportunity to build rapport and
trust with young people.
All in all, I think technology use is definitely beneficial,
especially in the initial stages of helping someone in need. Young
people readily rely on technology to contact their friends and
family, so I truly believe they will use this same means to contact
a professional if they need help dealing with personal issues