In 9 Words, Tim Cook Reveals How We Can Solve Our Mental Health Crisis

Tim Cook is a techie’s tech. He geeks out on things like  app development — to a point that baffles most of us. But he also has a head for business, and is keen on making tech development easier. Case in point? Shine, a recent star in the mental health app space.

Cook spent some time with the app’s creators recently, later sharing his experience in an interview published in Bustle. What stood out was not just the meteoric growth of Shine in a time when mental health is societally top of mind, nor was it the attention and plaudits Apple gave the creators.

It was the conversation around mental health that unavoidably came out of that encounter.

Specifically, in the Bustle interview, Cook noted something critical to our collective approach to mental health that needs a spotlight. He said:

“[Shine] have done this incredible job, bringing together community and stitching together a number of different things that will make [change] systemic in nature instead of a slogan.”

That’s the real the key here: Not attempting to solve a nuanced, complex problem with sound bytes. Nor, ironically, is the solution a single app — even one as good as Shine.

The solution must be people first and systemic, and it must start at the top.

The beginning is discussion. Shine’s founders, Naomi Hirabayashi and Marah Lidey, put a great deal of emphasis on “walking the talk,” letting their employees know that talking about mental health in the workplace is a critical starting point.

Tim Cook agrees — and said he, too, shares many of his struggles freely.

Just imagine: If other business leaders follow suit, the stigma that currently swells around mental health issues would disappear. And then, we can start, systematically, making changes that improve our individual and collective wellbeing.

I’ll hammer home this point one more time, because I think it’s so important:

The solution to our mental health crisis will not be found in social media, apps, or technology. They may help, but the solution must exist where the problem is rooted — in us. It’s a long game, that begins by opening the door to unstigmatized conversation about what ails us, a candid assessment of what triggers our problems, and a thoughtful, systemic approach to healing.

As Cook himself said, it will not be found, in slogans. And it will not be found solely in technology.

The opinions expressed here by columnists are their own, not those of

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