How Your Identity Is Tied to Your Mental Health — and How Innovative Technology Can Help Protect Both

Group of People Talking
Unlikely allies: cyber identity protection and your mental health.

The past few years have been devastating for mental health. We can blame it on social media, Covid-19, war, climate change fears or even a growing dependency on dangerous and over-prescribed pharmaceuticals — the fact remains that mental health around the globe is in the midst of a precipitous decline. People around the world in ever-growing numbers are struggling with anxiety, depression, stress and sleeplessness, all of which can impact mental acuity and focus.

When our mental health suffers, our identity health suffers. We can define “identity health” as a person’s overall state relating to their sense of self and having a defined purpose for their life. Any deficiencies in our mental health detract from our focus, attention and confidence — critical factors of our identity health. But just as technology has arguably worsened some of these problems, it can also hold the solution.

Mental health in an app

Several companies are developing ways to monitor and treat mental health through digital mediums. For example, Dana Brain Vital, a U.S.-based software company, is developing a cognitive testing platform to help doctors and patients capture and treat cognitive vital signs in clinical testing. It’s designed for mobile platforms, which means patients and their healthcare providers can flexibly administer it to suit each patient’s unique circumstances.

VR-EVAL is another company doing yeoman’s work in telehealth delivery. It uses cutting-edge virtual reality technology to help victims of human trafficking share their experiences and receive care for their trauma in a safe place. Solutions like this provide a safe and comfortable way for trauma survivors worldwide to receive targeted care from professionals without feeling judgment or pressure from others. It’s another tool in helping people improve their own mental health.

The tools themselves aren’t the only breakthroughs. Online identity management is a crucial component of this move to telehealth. With intimate personal medical details out in the ether, we must ensure the entire process is secure. This is where digital identity wallets factor in; such technologies can ensure that personal information is safe, accessible and relevant only to the patient and their provider. Such developments are part of the innovations that will completely revolutionize how people manage their identity health.

Innovations for your identity

Innovations in identity health aren’t limited solely to mental health apps, although this is an essential component. Online identity health and management can also cause mental distress as people worry about how much of their data is susceptible to thievery or how secure their online transactions are. The digital world has brought many incredible benefits to humanity, but it’s also brought significant stressors. We have to find innovative ways to overcome these stressors so people can once again feel whole in their identities.

In reality, we’re after our authentic identities — more than just a collation of personal data that makes up our identity in a “legal” sense. Our authentic identity is much more than our work history, identification or credit score. It’s who we are at our core: our thoughts, feelings, sense of purpose, and yes, our mental health. Identity innovation solutions, when at their most effective, can aid us in our journey to gain clarity on who we are, which can multiply our impact and influence on the world around us.

Investing in ourselves

The more we can define and gain confidence in our sense of self, the more our identity becomes our foundation for growth and innovation in who we are. That, in turn, helps drive self-investment, where we take those insights (that innovation has helped us discover) and use them to help improve our own self-care in mind, spirit and body. With innovation, we can take control of our own health and well-being like never before.

All of these technologies in telehealth, identity management and others create an opportunity for everyone on the planet to have access to help wherever they are. Improving everyone’s mental health provides a solid foundation for (and can even accelerate) enhancing our identity health. Imagine the problems we could solve and the healthy communities we could create if we each had a greater capacity to invest more time in our identities.

As humans, we need others to challenge us, care for us and inspire us. Unfortunately, our move to a digital world has left many feeling isolated from the people around them for too long. Instead, we need to shift the paradigm. Our identity is tied to our mental health and sense of self, and innovation helps us to discover more about ourselves. These tools have the potential to improve quality of life, but it has to be done in connection with others. So, stay connected and empathetic to those around you, and buckle up for the innovation and change that will lift humanity.

Originally published on Entrepreneur.