.io, the leading voice, video and live interactive streaming platform, works with companies such Bunch, The Meet Group, and Talkspace to bring real-time, voice and video streaming to mobile, web and desktop applications to help foster a greater sense of connection, community and support among peers in today’s digital world when it is needed most.
COVID-19 has had a demonstrable impact on mental health, for both practitioners and the general public. In fact Mental Health America reported a 19 percent increase in clinical anxiety screenings during the first weeks of February following the initial COVID-19 outbreak.
This year, Mental Health Awareness Month is especially top of mind for many individuals around the world amid the pandemic, as most are faced with tackling new work and home environments that may result in feelings of stress and anxiety. Business organizations are adopting remote work policies, restaurants and retail businesses are quickly adapting to digital offerings for customers, and the healthcare and mental health industry is welcoming new technologies including live, interactive streaming to ensure continuity for their patients.
“During a time when we are quarantined at our homes, we are looking for ways to receive professional mental and physical health advice and stay connected with friends and family,” said Reggie Yativ, Chief Operations Officer at Agora.io. “With live, interactive voice and video streaming technologies, people from around the world are exploring new ways to engage and interact with one another, and cope during this time. Mental health and self-care are no longer limited to a patient and therapist during a one hour session. With real-time engagement features built into apps, people have found a sense of peace and the support groups they need within some of their favorite gaming, social or dating apps right on their phones.”
As people cope with mental health, whether that be feelings of anxiety, fear, loneliness or stress, Agora and its partners see users trying out new methods or mediums that previously may not have been perceived as mental health tools and resources:
- Gaming Online: Whether it’s sitting around a kitchen table playing Yahtzee or in a multiplayer RPG on a console, gaming has always been a way to connect and engage with friends and is sometimes used as a tactic to release stress. In fact, in the last three months Bunch, a group video chat platform for multiplayer games, has seen more than 200x growth in usage and an increase in therapists leveraging their platform for therapy sessions where they can play games in a more relaxed setting which has helped foster more open conversations with their patients.
- Dating Online: Just because there’s a pandemic doesn’t mean new relationships and friendships shouldn’t blossom and socialization should come to a complete halt. Human interaction and connection is essential to our well-being and social dating apps can help facilitate those connections and combat loneliness. For example, MeetMe, a social dating app, offers their users video streaming features that enable real-time interaction and engagement, and have seen a 40% growth in usage of their video streaming features in the last three months.
- Therapy Online: While therapy isn’t a new way of coping with mental health, bringing therapy sessions online and onto mobile phones has only recently gained traction. Talkspace, an online and mobile therapy company, has been leading the charge on bringing online therapy to masses and has seen a 90% increase year-over-year since mid-March. The mobile app offers live voice and video streaming so patients and therapists can connect in real-time, from anywhere.
“Engaging in meaningful relationships is a critical component of mental health and wellness,” said Geoff Cook, CEO at The Meet Group Inc. “While we all social distance to slow the spread of COVID-19, live-streaming has become a critical aspect of our new remote lifestyles and provides a bridge out of the isolation and loneliness that too many people feel. Our audience highly values the connection that live video provides, from virtual happy hours and virtual dating to live-streaming concert series and ‘Friday Game Nights’.”
If you’re interested in learning more about Agora’s partners or its live interactive video and voice SDKs for your mobile, web or desktop apps visit www.agora.io for more information.