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Video services like Zoom, and teletherapy platforms like BetterHelp, helped people stay connected
2020 has been a really tough year, which is putting it as mildly as possible. With over 250,000 Americans now dead from COVID, political unrest, lockdowns and a contentious election, it has really taken a toll on people. In fact it's been so bad that I can imagine that future generations will be amazed that any of us survived it (and all we got was this lousy t-shirt).
Despite all of that, I actually think we're going to be okay; at the very least we're going to better off than we would have if we had lost the ability to connect with each other. Thanks to video services like Skype and Zoom people were still able to see each other, to talk to their friends and loved ones, and to not feel so isolated, even when they weren't physically able to be together.
That's why, in 2020, I'm thankful for the technology that has allowed people to not feel so alone during these trying times.
For me, the best example of this came pretty early on in the lockdown, when my family did a Passover Seder over Zoom. I've lived in California for over eight years now, and I haven't been home for a Seder in all that time. Obviously, it wasn't the same as doing it in person; things got kind of silly pretty quickly with my cousin and his kids spending the entire time doing funny Zoom animations. Also, half the participants were over 70, meaning most of them could barely figure out how to use Zoom at all. Still, it was somehow the closest many of us have been with each other in years, and I had the chance to see people who I haven't seen in years.
As much as getting to FaceTime with friends and family was important, there were even more crucial ways that our ability to connect came in handy, including the use of telemedicine services, which exploded following the pandemic. That was perhaps most important for people experiencing mental health problems; over 40 percent of respondents to a survey in June reported "at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition," including anxiety and depression. Meanwhile, companies like AmWell, Ginger, BetterHelp and MDLive, which offer teletherapy services, saw huge increases in the number of people accessing their platforms.
The pandemic and all the rest of 2020 took a major toll on the nation's mental health, but just imagine how much worse it would have been if these services didn't exist and people didn't have the option to connect with someone to get help.
Technologies like this aren't exactly new; Zoom has been around since 2011, while Skype has been around since 2003. But it really does feel like 2020 was the year when the world finally caught up and realized the true value in the many ways that technology helps keep us together, especially with those who mean the most to us.
(Image source: hindustantimes.com)
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