A young man looks overwhelmed by the array of technology available to him.

Mental health issues: technology

Staying safe, being secure and protecting your privacy online is complicated for anyone. If you're living with a mental health condition, then you should be extra careful when interacting with people and services online.

Safety first

Most people will not try to take advantage of you or your mental health condition, but for the few unscrupulous types you might try to do so, we've put together a bit of advice.

Keeping things private

If you are using websites, apps or other services that display any information about you (such as Facebook), take a good look at the privacy settings before using the service. Many websites disclose all manner of personal information by default, so make sure your settings disclose what you want and protect what you don't want to disclose.

Don't react in haste

If someone says something to you online, in an email or in a text that you don't like, don't react rashly. Take yourself out of the situation and do whatever works best to calm yourself down. Close your eyes, take a few breaths, have a cup of tea, stick your headphones on and listen to your favourite music—whatever you need to take yourself out of the situation. Go back to it when you're ready and see if you can respond with compassion rather than anger or agitation. Or it may be best not to respond at all.

Walk away from distressing content

If you find yourself reading, listening to or watching anything that you find distressing or disturbing, simply move on. If anything online makes you feel uncomfortable, find something else to read, listen to or watch. The Internet is vast, and there will always be something that you can enjoy. There's no point wasting your time on things you don't.

If something has really disturbed you, come off the computer entirely and connect with the people or things that make you feel better.

People say all sorts of things online

Many people hide behind their computer screens and say all sorts of things online that they wouldn't dare say in the real world. If you think someone is being a jerk, leave it alone. Generally, telling them that they are being a jerk will not stop them from doing so and will only serve to annoy you.

Computers don't have emotions

Sometimes, when people are trying to be funny, to express their feelings or emotions, or when English is not their first language, they can get things quite wrong online. It's sometimes difficult to express certain feelings and emotions when using a computer, so make sure you don't jump to conclusions; give yourself room for misunderstandings.

The same goes for when you are trying to express how you feel. Make sure that what you say is clear and straightforward.

Report abuse immediately

If you are on a website and people are being abusive towards you or other people, then report it immediately. Most social and forum websites have places where you are able to report any abuse or harassment.

Digital tools for people with mental health issues

Technology is certainly finding its place in supporting people with mental health issues. Here are some tools that we think may be of help

Online forums

If you want to interact the other Jewish people who are experiencing mental health issues, then check out our forum.

If you want to communicate with others outside of the Jewish community, then check out the Big White Wall.

Self-assessment tools

If you are concerned that you have a mental health issue and want to find out more, or you just want to find out more about your current condition, NHS Choices have some great mental health self-assessment tools on their website.

Mental health apps

If you've got a smartphone, then there's probably an app for you. There are plenty of apps available to help with managing your mental wellbeing in all aspects of your daily life, and many of them are free. 

Check out the Mental health apps section of the NHS Choices website to find out more.

Finally, to request information about--or support for--mental health and the Jewish community, contact Jami.

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