Julie Gable
Julie Gable is a Trends Analyst covering the European region, publishing observations on Mintel Trends that discuss innovations, creative marketing campaigns and new product launches.

10 October marks World Mental Health Day, an occasion to raise awareness of mental wellbeing and the issues affecting millions of people worldwide. Mental health problems come in many forms, they affect anyone and can have major effect on people’s lives.

The medical community is already providing help for mental health issues, but today Mintel highlights the growing engagement from companies to improve individuals’ wellbeing through cutting-edge technology and social initiatives.

Chat therapy – Chile

Mejorandome is an app helping people treat their addictions, such as alcohol, drugs, tobacco, gambling, sex and technology. It uses video and chat therapy sessions to help users combat their dependencies. The platform offers a number of treatments such as psychological therapy, remote assistance from specialists via chat, and a panic button for emergencies.

Paradoxically, even when overuse of social media and technology is resulting in addictive behaviours, many tools designed to combat emotional afflictions are technology-based. As technology keeps building bridges between sufferers and professionals, we expect more apps and platforms to support users and help them manage their mood.

Treat depression with a headband – South Korea

The start-up Ybrain has introduced a wearable headband called Mindd which is designed to treat depression. The device delivers a tiny stream of electricity to the frontal lobe of the brain where decreased activity is believed to be associated with depression. It also records levels of physical activity and sleep via a smartphone app; the data collected can be automatically sent to doctors to monitor the patient’s condition.

There is still a stigma associated with mental health in South Korea, which leads to a lack of social support for mental illness. This advanced technology is providing an alternative and convenient way for people to tackle mental health issues without having to visit a doctor or specialist.

Fight dementia in VR – Germany

Deutsche Telekom has collaborated with Alzheimer’s Research UK to launch a virtual reality mobile game to fight dementia. The game is called Sea Hero Quest and collects anonymised data during gameplay. This then lays the foundation for understanding dementia and creates a tool for its diagnosis. The game allows researchers to look at users’ navigation skills and establish a baseline to diagnose patients with dementia before the onset of more serious symptoms.

Using new technologies like virtual reality and gamifying tasks is likely to encourage more people to challenge mental illness. It also boosts consumer engagement with a brand and highlights its morals.

Instagram’s ‘get support’ pop-up – Worldwide

Instagram will give users a pop-up about opioid addiction if they search certain hashtags. This was developed in conjunction with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, and the Partnership for Drug Free Kids in an effort to address the opioid crisis and fight drug addiction.

Actions speak louder than words. Consumers want to see companies taking actionable steps to have a more positive impact on their communities. Indeed, about six in 10 US consumers prefer that companies do more than just donate money to a cause. Social media platforms are especially under pressure because of their influence on culture and society. Instagram’s new ‘feature’ serves in two ways. It’s a cause-oriented initiative that builds ethos between partnering organisations, and it shows the company taking responsibility for the role that it plays in the dissemination of this issue.

Credit: Mashable

Our 2019 Consumer Trend ‘Total Wellbeing’ looks at how consumers are seeking solutions that complement their personal health and evolving needs. If you’re a Trends client, click here to learn more about this Trend. For everyone else, download the free Consumer Trends 2019 thought piece here