Technology to aid in mental health and wellbeing

Belinda Bantham -- Fri, 02/09/2018 - 14:10

Technology to aid in mental health and wellbeing

During the last decade, eMental Health has taken off with web-based and mobile interventions, becoming all the rage. Prof Saskia Kelders will explore this on 1 March 2018 during her prestige lecture as extraordinary professor at the Optentia Research Focus Area on the North-West University’s (NWU’s) campus in Vanderbijlpark.

eMental Health (eMH) can be described as improving mental health and wellbeing by means of technology. eMH holds the advantage of potentially reaching a larger group of people in need of care and providing treatment in a shorter period of time. eMH can also increase the quality of care by empowering people to take responsibility in managing their own mental health, especially during the increased demand for care and the time constraints experienced by practicing health professionals. 

Although many eMH interventions have been found effective in treating depression and anxiety for example, non-adherence (when participants do not complete interventions), remains a major issue limiting the effectiveness of interventions. Furthermore, increasing evidence shows that a “one-size-fits-all” approach is not sufficient and that personalisation is needed. 

Prof Kelders’ lecture will focus on ways to use technology to increase adherence to and effectiveness of eMH interventions. She will also present a new way to personalise interventions by using individual engagement.

Prof Saskia Kelders

Photo: IPPA

 

About the expert

Prof Saskia Kelders is an assistant professor at the Department of Psychology, Health and Technology at the University of Twente in Endschede in the Netherlands. Her research interests include positive psychology, persuasive technology and digital interventions. Her ongoing research projects focus on using individual engagement to personalise eHealth interventions. Prof Kelders uses methods such as analysis of log data, experimental studies and randomised controlled trials that translate into interventions such as web-based gamified interventions and mobile apps to increase wellbeing.

The lecture

The prestige lecture will take place in the Executive Boardroom in Building 24 on the campus in Vanderbijlpark. Enquiries on attending the lecture can be directed to: Marinda.Malan@nwu.ac.za