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Technology in 2021: Aiding mental health in innovative ways

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Technology in 2021: Aiding mental health in innovative ways

According to the World Health Organization, at least 20% of Indians would suffer from mental disease by 2020. Around 38 million Indians are affected by anxiety disorders, while 56 million are affected by depression. This is exacerbated by the availability of trained professionals in India, with just 0.75 psychiatrists available per 100,000 people.

Around 260 million individuals worldwide are affected by mental illness, with 300 million suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. For mental health issues, no paradigm-shifting medications have been created in the last 30 years. Patients can now interact with mental health doctors, receive a diagnosis, and treat their issues remotely, thanks to new technological advancements.

Apps for specific mental health conditions

Numerous apps are dedicated to certain disorders such as OCD, depression, schizophrenia, and even anxiety. These apps provide support, guidance, information, consolation, symptom management approaches, and various other tools to help mental health sufferers better cope with their diseases. According to the American Psychological Association, there are between 10,000 and 20,000 mental health apps available.

Behaviour Trackers

The user’s smartphone activity can be tracked with his or her authorization. If a user’s syntax changes or begins typing at an abnormally fast rate, these could be signs of mania. To avoid the start of manic episodes, the user’s heart rate and pulse might also be monitored. This data collecting could help mental health practitioners better diagnose disorders and potentially provide patients with personalized treatments based on trends discovered.

Remote therapy

The global telepsychiatry market was worth USD 5.5 billion in 2019 and is expected to increase at a CAGR of 24.7% from 2019 to 2027. In India, mental health specialists are scarce, resulting in a shortage of professional services. Remote diagnosis can help to alleviate any anxiety about an in-person session and, in the long run, lessen the stigma associated with mental illness.

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Starlink Broadband could soon go live in India

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Starlink Broadband, the satellite-internet company committed to providing high-speed internet connectivity to areas that aren’t connected to wired or wireless internet, could soon go live in 10 rural areas of India. 

While posting on LinkedIn, Starlink Country Director India, Sanjay Bhargava, said that they have more than 5000 pre-orders from India, with a “stretch target of 2,00,000 terminals active in India in December 2022”, subject to government approval.

While expanding on the subject in a release note, the company said, “​​The government approval process is complex. So far there is no application pending with the government, so the ball is in our court to apply for consideration which we are working on. Our approach will be to get pilot approval quickly if pan India approval will take long. We are optimistic that we will get approval for a pilot program or pan India approval in the next few months”.

Starlink’s plans take flight

Elon Musk also said the company was in talks with airlines about deploying Starlink on board, with users promised low latency half gigabit internet if the plans go through. It was unclear which airlines were contacted or when the installation would take place.  

These aren’t the first rumblings about this plan, with SpaceX Vice President Jonathan Hofeller signing from the same hymn sheet back in June. Hofeller remarked that SpaceX has already done some demonstrations of the technology, and it is looking to finalize the product in the near future, saying that, “Starlink provides a global mesh (so that) airlines flying underneath that global mesh have connectivity anywhere they go. Passengers and customers want a great experience that (geosynchronous satellite internet) systems simply cannot provide”. 

So far, SpaceX has launched 1,740 Starlink satellites, and the program currently has about 100,000 users in 14 countries, with plans to launch 12,000 satellites. 

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EVs: The Future of Human Mobility

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As Electric Vehicles (EV) are becoming increasingly popular every day, its market share is also expected to rise greatly. And the economic arguments for this are too strong to ignore; with India heavily dependent on oil imports, transitioning to EVs could help save $60 billion on oil imports by 2030. And the average consumer will be happy to migrate to EVs as well, with fuel prices crossing a century in most parts of the country. Widespread adoption could help consumers save an average of Rs. 20,000 for every 5,000 kilometres traversed, assuming electricity costs will hover around Rs. 1.1 per kilometer. 

Tata Motors is one of the foremost movers in the space, with an early mover advantage. The future looks promising for the leading automaker as the private equity group TPG along with ADQ of Abu Dhabi has agreed to invest in the EV division Rs 7500 crore ($1 billion), valuing the business at $9.1 billion. This most certainly helps the automobile arm of Tata to boost their EV footprint and market share.  

The new investors will be given Compulsorily Convertible Preference Shares (CCPS), which will give them an 11-15 percent ownership in the EV unit after 18 months of conversion, with Tata Motors owning the rest. The conversion will also be tied to certain revenue criteria that have been agreed upon. The first round of 50 percent capital infusion is planned to be finished by March 22, with the remaining funds infused by the end of 2022.  

Tata Motors has already announced plans to roll out 10 new battery electric vehicles in its domestic product portfolio by 2025. The company is also evaluating the creation of automotive software and  an engineering vertical within the Tata group that will help it lead in the sphere of connected and autonomous vehicles. 

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The rise of Electric Vehicles in India

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After the boom of Electric Vehicles (EVs) across the world, Indian businesses now seek Government support in order to meet their needs by 2030 i.e., 65% of vehicles in India to be electric. 

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) said that more than 25 companies, including automakers Mahindra & Mahindra and Volvo, oil giant Shell, and clean mobility startups, want India to set firm targets and frame policies to support the transition to electric vehicles (EVs). 

This is India’s first coordinated effort to transition to sustainable transportation, and it comes only weeks before the United Nations’ climate change summit, which is considered as critical to eliciting additional commitments from states to combat global warming. 

In recent months, India has approved plans to encourage companies to manufacture electric vehicles and batteries in the country, boosting supply and complementing a bevy of federal and state incentives for EV purchasers. 

According to the WBCSD, by 2030, companies want 30% of new automobiles, 70% of new motorcycles and scooters, and 35% of new buses to be electric. They want the government to legalize e-bike taxi services, issue fleet permits for electric three-wheelers, make financing and leasing alternatives for electric cars more accessible, and expedite the construction of public chargers in order to achieve this. 

JBM Group of India, Hero Electric Motorcycles, Switch Mobility, Fortum Energy, IKEA, and LeasePlan are among the companies supporting the project. 

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