How AI Can Help With Diagnosing and Treating Mental Health
About Mental Health Disorders
Yearly, millions of people all over the world are affected by various mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), In 2018 alone, 43.8 million Americans have experienced mental health illnesses; that’s 1 in every 5 Americans. Out of those 43.8 million people, only 40% received treatment. Struggling with mental health can be very difficult, and not getting proper help could worsen the condition. 90% of the suicide cases in 2018 were linked to struggle with mental health.
How Artificial Intelligence Can Help
Over the last decade, technological advancements have drastically enhanced effectiveness in medical and engineering fields (to name a few). With this vast amount of technology accessible to many, companies have come up with distinct ways to diagnose depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder from its early stages.
Here’s an example: Facebook recently developed a sophisticated AI program that scours through millions of their users’ posts and comments while being able to detect if any of the activity show signs of mental illness; if this is a common trend within the user’s feed/timeline, then he or she would most likely be suffering from a mental illness. So, how could this be helpful? Let's say a random user is suffering from depression, and as a result, this user is frequently posting suicidal quotes on their timeline. Facebook would then detect this pattern and most likely diagnose the user with depression. They could report the user to certified medical professionals or maybe even employ a team at their office to reach out and offer guidance (like a suicide prevention line), supporting many.
Facebook is not the only company implementing this concept of AI-based mental health services. New business startups such as Tess, Wysa, and Woebot use AI-operated “emotional assistants” to help people battle depression. These emotional assistants are programmed to advocate positive thinking and provide its users with human-like guidance through texting at any needed moment.
What’s Wrong With the Help Offered Now?
It’s inefficient. There are vast differences between these AI-powered programs and the old-fashioned way of providing help. First of all, these are apps available for use right from one’s pocket through a smartphone or tablet. It’s easily accessible and responsive, which means no more waiting for appointments and paying expensive therapy fees. Second of all, this eliminates the need to talk to another person about your problems - which is a positive for those who aren’t comfortable discussing intimate matters with others. Lastly, and the most obvious, is that an AI-powered assistant is available for help at any time, 24/7.
If these programs do not seem like a good idea, and you would prefer human interaction, multiple countries offer suicide hotlines for people who have a mental illness.
United Kingdom: 08457909090
United States: 1-800-273-8255
New Zealand: 0800543354
For more visit: https://ibpf.org/resource/list-international-suicide-hotlines
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