A third of the world is in some type of self-isolation lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The effect this is having on social and economic activities cannot be understated. But concurrently, these lockdowns pose serious risks to individuals from a health and wellness perspective. This is particularly true in terms of mental health. Experts note that stress, anxiety, and depression are all likely to rise in the wake of the crisis. And this not only involves those in self-isolation lockdowns but also healthcare workers, first responders, the elderly, and kids.
Understanding this, the benefits of meditation can offer some protection to people during this time of stress. Research and science have shown that the benefits of meditation are both real and lasting. In addition, wellness apps are becoming increasingly popular today, especially as we become more active on virtual and digital platforms. This is the reason that mental health apps have appeal. It is also the reason partnerships around these mental health apps are forming.
“What we’re really seeing is a global experience of anxiety, and how that’s impacting our day-to-day lives…Mental health issues often appear after the crisis, not during.” – Kelli Finley, Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
The Potential Role of Mental Health Apps
Over the last few years, mental health apps have been offered in a number of settings. One of the most recent trends have been mental health apps for college students with related concerns. At the same time, wellness apps that enhance mental wellness are also on the rise. Specifically, Headspace is one of the premier mental health apps used today around the world. The company is a global leader in mindfulness and meditation app and has over 62 million users in 190 countries. And it caters not only to individuals but also to business, education systems, and children. In fact, Headspace has partnered with over 600 companies to promote the benefits of meditation.
Given the stress, anxiety, and depression effects with the COVID-19 crisis, mental health apps have a strong potential role. Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state of New York has certainly recognized this potential. Recently announced, a partnership between New York and Headspace will occur in an effort to advance the benefits of meditation. As a result, Headspace will offer their meditation content to all New Yorkers for free. Likewise, all public healthcare workers will be able to enjoy Headspace Plus without charge. And businesses and educators will have access to headspace meditation and informational content specific to these areas. This will be in an effort to promote the benefits of meditation in helping people deal with the pandemic’s effects.
“…We’re not built to be isolated for long periods of time without human contact or to see the large numbers of people getting sick around us. Now more than ever it’s critical that New Yorkers stay healthy both physically and mentally.” – Governor Andrew Cuomo, State of New York
The Benefits of Meditation and Mindfulness
The impact of the current pandemic crisis on mental wellness is substantial. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey, nearly half of all individuals describe negative mental health effects. Roughly one in 5 state these effects have had a major impact on their overall wellness. And this may represent only the tip of the iceberg. Experts note that the vast majority of mental health problems often surface after the crisis is over. If that is the case, efforts need to be in place now to reduce these negative impacts. Mental health apps offer one such approach that has been shown to help.
One of the reasons that Headspace has been so successful is because it leads the industry in evidence-based research. Its mindfulness and mental health apps have demonstrated the benefits of meditation in numerous ways. In terms of mental wellness, mental health apps reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Likewise, it also boosts learning, memory, and emotional control. And other benefits of meditation include delayed cognitive aging, lower blood pressure, and enhanced sleep. All of these effects are noteworthy in our current crisis because they have the potential to promote mental health resilience. In other words, mental health apps serve to help us protect our mental wellness during times of stress.
“These are such uncertain times for everyone all over the world. It’s difficult to even know where to begin to address the extraordinary stress, anxiety and trauma that individuals and communities are experiencing… Now more than ever, it’s essential to look after our physical and mental health, both for our own benefit, and for those around us.” – Andy Puddicombe, Headspace Co-Founder and Former Buddhist monk
A Call to Action for Bold Businesses
With billions of people in lockdown, the market for a number of virtual offerings is growing. This not only relates to mental health apps but to all sorts of wellness apps and digital therapeutics. But in terms of mental health apps, Headspace is in an excellent position to make bold differences. Certainly, it is doing so in New York, which has been heavily affected by the coronavirus. But the company is also promoting the benefits of meditation in other countries as well. These pursuits highlight that Headspace is committed to being part of the solution in this global time of need.
In addition to working with the state of New York, Headspace recently partnered with the U.K.’s National Health Service. The company is offering 1.2 million workers access to their mental health apps through this joint endeavor. In addition, Headspace offers its Headspace to Educators free access in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada. Thus, it is clear the company is committed to its mission of bringing health and happiness to the world. As a bold business, Headspace demonstrates initiatives focused on social responsibility and advancement. And in this time of uncertainty, such pursuits are truly admirable and needed.