Judging from books, movies, TV shows, and other media, you can easily get the feeling that mental health problems are on the rise. And that’s true. Based on Mental Health America’s 2023 report, around fifty million adults in the United States experienced mental health issues in the past five years. Yikes! Still, it’s debatable.
On the one hand, we can reluctantly buy into the fact that mental health issues are on the rise. Digitalization, FOMO, crisis, wars here and there. You can easily figure out why mental stability deteriorates. On the other hand, our knowledge of mental health-related issues has deepened. Nowadays, everyone is at least familiar with therapy.
So, which is it, the rising number of issues or a deeper knowledge of the subject? Well, it’s something that can be discussed at NY SALON to figure out the reasons – if we take it at face value – or dwell on the progress of our society – if we opt for the deepening knowledge of mental health perspective. And digitalization has something to do with both variants.
Yes, digitalization can be both harmful and beneficial for our mental health. Negative aspects of digitalization can include:
Negative online experiences causing low self-esteem
Higher levels of inactivity
But the digital age has positive aspects as well. Basically, wherever it can make things worse, it can make things better:
Easier to reach out for help
Speeding up the studying and working processes
Just think how many times you had to write an essay on the positive and negative aspects of digitalization. Or how often you had to browse through the best assignment writing services to pick the one to order a paper on the said topic. In case you’ve opted for ordering the paper and never bothered to delve into the topic before, check out how digitalization in the form of AI can be helpful in therapy.
Table of Contents
Patient Data Analysis
Generally, we are dealing with mental health conditions post-factum. Only after suffering certain problems related to the condition do we go into therapy, where we learn what was the issue that caused it all. Think how great things would be if you could foresee the development of the condition and possibly, prevent it. AI could make that possible.
Analyzing your data, from biographical facts and behavioral patterns to speech recordings and blood tests, the AI can figure out whether you are at risk of developing a mental health condition. It may seem like a long way to go, but researchers from IBM are already conducting experiments. Their research shows that a well-trained AI can detect a developing condition with 60%-90% accuracy.
Providing Patients with Self-Assessment Option
Let’s say you’ve been contemplating going to a shrink for quite a long time, but you’re lacking proof that you really need to. AI can help in determining whether you have a mental condition that requires professional help. This can make life easier for both prospective patients and therapists alike.
The mental health support chatbots will provide users with a set of questions that help reveal the presence or absence of symptoms that signify a mental health condition. This allows you to figure out whether you have any issues and whether you require professional help. Chatbots like that already exist. However, it will take some time for them to work perfectly.
Therapy Session Chatbots
One thing which needs to be discussed first is that chatbots cannot replace real therapists. But that doesn’t mean that a set of algorithms won’t allow them to provide necessary replies to users with mental health problems, which will reduce levels of stress and anxiety. They can be quite useful for helping patients to cope with symptoms.
Virtual AI-powered therapists already exist, including Replica, Wysa, Tess, and Elomia. Chatbots like Tess manage to provide personalized therapy based on methods like cognitive behavioral therapy. Despite the fact that Tess can identify the emotions of users only based on text processing, it proved to be successful in reducing mental health symptoms. But to achieve the results, users have to communicate with the chatbot on a daily basis.
But there are other bots that can interpret emotions via facial expressions or gestures of the user. Based on the information given to them, chatbots will provide you with advice and will send you health-related reminders, so you won’t forget necessary routines.
Such bots can be used by large corporations to help employees cope with stress and prevent burnout. They can also be used at universities to help students. For example, a BioBase app, which is designed to help companies to reduce employee burnout, can be considered the first attempt to implement therapy session chatbots.
Boosting Patient Experience
AI is rapidly becoming an integral part of the healthcare industry. Now, let’s get back to the beginning of the article, where we mentioned that digitalization makes it easier to reach out for help. That’s exactly what AI-powered chatbots are here for. Even if they don’t allow coping with mental help issues on the same level as therapists, they can direct prospective patients to where to get help.
Aside from that, they can provide users with mental health education. Reminder systems will notify patients when to take medication and remind them how to cope with particular symptoms, which makes the overall patient experience far more engaging. Moreover, AI tools will enhance outreach.
Automating Therapists’ Workflow
The work of psychiatrists and therapists is burdened by tons of information about each patient. Implementing AI-powered platforms will make the workflow more automated. Basically, whenever a therapist needs information about a particular patient, the platform can generate an on-demand report, which will contain the patient’s condition and progress.
One can start creating conspiracy theories on how the implementation of AI in the mental health segment will make us more reliant on it. A paranoid vision of computers deciding who’s mentally healthy and who is not.
Is that possible? Maybe, but so far, AI-powered tools bring more good than harm. They do help patients to cope with anxiety, stress, and depression. They can direct high-risk patients to psychiatrists and therapists, which makes life easier for both patients and doctors. With everything that AI can offer to the mental healthcare system, it should be embraced.
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