Guest blog contributed by Marjorie Morrison, President & CEO of Psych Hub, a partner of NeuroFlow
As technology has continued to evolve so has consumer behavior – especially with regard to the mental health space. No matter what our age is, we hold unbreakable bonds with our phones, computers, and tablets, meaning we constantly have a search engine right at our fingertips. Today, more than ever before, people are using increased accessibility to search for quick answers in regards to their health.
Recent studies reveal that looking for health or medical information is one of the most popular online activities, citing a striking 80% of internet users who have reported searching for a health-related topic online. We also know that search engines are the first stop for eight out of ten people seeking health information.
So, why is this important? It means people want, even need, information and resources around health topics. But more importantly, it means that individuals need credible information and resources. This impacts all stakeholders including healthcare providers. Search engines have inadvertently made health information, both credible and noncredible. Patients are potentially developing unnecessary fears about their health as increased information becomes more accessible to the public.
The missing piece of the mental health experience in the digital world is the practice of using content to educate individuals rather than just provide information. And we know this because only 12% of people have proficient health literacy which inevitably leads to poor health outcomes, infrequent use of preventative services, and higher healthcare costs.
Information Versus Education
Information is simply a one-way street. It can be clinically sound, helpful and meant to provide people with an understanding. Whereas education is about the ownership of knowledge.
While information is an incredible addition to an individual’s arsenal, education provides consumers with the tools needed to take action with that information. Simply put, by educating others we are allowing them to take ownership of their own journey and feel empowered to make decisions about their own healthcare. It’s the action piece of education that makes it different from information.
How to Properly Educate
In order to accomplish this and improve the patient experience around mental health treatment, there are a few key components to remember:
- Provide the right content: Make sure the content you’re distributing to individuals is educational and not just a list of information. To do this, ensure that is: credible, clinically-sound, and provides patients with actionable takeaways.
- Deliver it the right way: Provide education to your patients in a way that is easily accessible and simple to comprehend. At Psych Hub, we accomplish this through free educational videos because we want people of all socioeconomic statuses to have access, and because we know that 95% of a message is retained when individuals watch a video compared to 10% when reading the information in text.
- Meet patients where they are: Host your educational content in a way that is easy for your patients to find it, access it and comprehend it. Because video has become such an integral piece of the digital space and we know 55% of people watch videos online every day, when we were creating the idea for Psych Hub it only made sense that we educated people through video.
When used right, the digital space can be a powerful tool for educating consumers through this journey. As a provider, you can play a key role in sharing education rather than information with your patients to enhance their treatment experience and wellness journey. Your patients are already going online to find information about their mental health, so make sure the content you are providing is fulfilling their need to have actionable next steps and not just information that could potentially cause unneeded stress and fear.
Marjorie Morrison is the president and CEO of Psych Hub, an online platform providing free, engaging videos about mental health, substance use, and suicide prevention. Prior to founding Psych Hub, Marjorie was founder and CEO of PsychArmor Institute. Marjorie is a California Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, a PPS-credentialed School Psychologist, and the author of The Inside Battle: Our Military Mental Health Crisis.