Jun. 13, 2018
American suicide rates have skyrocketed, up 30 percent since 1999, emblematic of the larger mental-health epidemic we are facing.
Many point to the isolationism and perfection seeking created by our personal technology devices (and the social media they feed to us) as one the main causes of this epidemic.
But what if the analytical power of these devices could actually alert us to mood changes and create an earlier awareness of an impending personal mental-health crisis?As noted by the Atlantic:
As people start to slide into depression, for instance, they may do several of the following things easily sensed by a phone’s microphones, accelerometers, GPS units, and keyboards: They may talk with fewer people; and when they talk, they may speak more slowly, say less, and use clumsier sentences and a smaller vocabulary…. they may spend more time at home and go fewer places. They may sleep differently.
Assuming our devices can do this for us, what happens when this tech makes it way into the workplace, and employers have access to these mental health warning signs? According to the Harvard Business Review:
Data-informed managers may be able to use real-time interventions to defuse stressful situations before they get out of hand. HR can and should want to know when and whether management is disruptively stressed-out or depressed; leaders should want to see how management moods and methods correlate with morale…. Privacy concerns are unavoidable.
Lots of laws will be impacted by the intersection of technology and mental health at work.
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