When we read about digital mental health (DMH) solutions, they are most often in their own manifestations as websites, apps, algorithms, wearables, etc., which require us to adopt new experiences into our present digital lifestyle. While this is acceptable for the pioneers, early adopters and even early majority users of DMH solutions, I suspect that a next wave of adoption will be better achieved as the content and interventions that presently call us to new experiences are embedded in those we are already habituated to.
This article calls for the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) to embed itself in FortNite, the popular MOOG, and Facebook, to provide mental health information and interventions. This makes so much sense as it lowers the friction of “channel switch” and “co-locates the help with the harm”. In addition to this instance, the work I say at the recent Yale University Mental Health Hack-a-thon by Team Flip and Lucas Chae are additional examples of this productive embedment in browsers. This seems a new space in DMH which we the article calls “in-app
support/intervention”, a form of “ecological momentary intervention”, and which I would call “ambient”. You can see how this can be extended to Slack, Google Search, WhatApp, eMail, even banking apps. It occurs to me that one example of this I am already using is X2AI, the CBT chatbot Tess which I can contact via FaceBook Messenger, or my phone’s SMS.
Another I encountered years ago is the availability of mental health support groups on Second Life catering to one’s avatar existence and providing requisite anonymity. I am sure there are other examples I simply have not come across yet, but which I would love to hear your suggestions regarding.
With such executions, data and privacy are ever a concern as we work to balance “good enough transparency” to address individual and public health concerns with appropriate privacy to shield individuals from undue surveillance.
These embedded possibilities point to the potential for a whole class of DMH as embedded content and intervention managing algorithm which bring the mountain to Mohammed so that Mohammed does not…you get my point.