June 25, 2024

Incorporation of Artificial Intelligence into Mental Healthcare

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Mental healthcare is a severe concern today. People are raising awareness everywhere to save mental peace, fight stress, anxiety, and many more. Day by day, the concern for mental healthcare is expanding and it has become really important for everyone to consider their mental health.

 Our fast-paced world has made everyone’s life stressful. People hardly find time to think about their health, let alone, mental health. Moreover, there still exists some places where natives think that discussing mental health is a taboo and even shun the very existence of the term ‘mental health’, turning it as part of ‘physical health’. Therefore, in this partially aware world, when people ponder to fight their mental illness and end up getting incomplete treatment or unsure illness, their belief towards a cure declines. Therefore, it becomes very essential to treat or diagnose the patients with right procedures.

Reports and Statistics

An individual is said to be suffering through some kind of mental health if he/ she has no positive emotion, have low mood, and has a variety of abnormal behavioral, emotional, physical, and cognitive issues. Globally, mental health diseases are on the rise that affects 1 in every 7 individuals. At least 10% of the population is impacted, and suicide is the fourth greatest cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 29. Nearly 15% of teenagers experience a mental health disorder. Depression is caused by several variables, including genes, stress, and brain chemistry. According to some research, the market for mental health services worldwide, which was valued at USD383.31 billion in 2020, is anticipated to expand to USD537.97 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 3.5%. World Health Organization says that in 2020, depression affected more than 264 million individuals worldwide, regardless of age.

    From 2022 to 2027, the market for artificial intelligence in mental health is projected to expand at a CAGR of 39.1%. Following an analysis of 28 studies on artificial intelligence and mental health, researchers from IBM and the University of California came to the conclusion that the choice of AI techniques and quality of data training allow algorithms to approximately identify a variety of mental disorders with a 63-92% accuracy.

Picture used just for representation

AI’s Essentialities

Artificial Intelligence or AI has been leveraged for many years. Almost in every field now, there’s a role of AI. It is playing a significant role in backing up nearly every effort of human life. In the medical field, AI is already playing a big role in diagnosing people’s diseases. Whether for automating the tasks or analyzing patient data or using tools such as AI assisted pathology tools to assist diagnosis, AI has played its role very well. Now, if we see the functions of AI in curing mental health issues, there are innumerable roles that AI can play in solving the issues in its nascent stage. Mental health field has initiated AI into it in order to receive better and personalized care. AI can shorten waiting times and allows quick availability. While accessing treatment there could arise several barriers which AI can remove easily. Moreover, it can boost up the efficiency level in medical or therapy sessions. Further, AI has the power to precise the diagnosis and treatments of the patients. The training of therapists and the quality control of care are both made easier by the technology. With the aid of this technology, medical personnel could sieve through patient records to find information about their behavior, pattern, history, or any other useful information that could aid in decision-making. In mental healthcare, artificial intelligence could lower expenses and increase accessibility. A new study demonstrated that artificial intelligence may detect anxiety symptoms with over 92% accuracy. Technology continues to offer approaches to improve mental health. AI can drastically lessen symptoms before they worsen if used properly.

How is AI transforming mental healthcare solutions?

Let us have a few detailed look at how AI can revolutionize patient’s mental issues:

  • Provide precise diagnosis

AI has the power to combat misdiagnosis or re-define early diagnosis. It has proved to provide the right and precised diagnosis at shorter period of time, thus increasing therapy effectiveness. AI research can assist doctors personalize treatment by grouping patient diagnoses into several ailment subgroups. Leveraging AI to analyze enormous amounts of large data and identifying trends can help professionals make advancements earlier than they alone could do. For instance, AI can identify patterns in complex data like family history, successful prior therapies, patient behavior, and other aspects to deliver a more accurate diagnosis and assist both the patient and doctor in getting the best result. Recent technological developments demonstrate that AI can identify depression twice as accurately as humans. AI extracts data from a sample and then assesses several metrics contained within the sample. For instance, the technology can identify depressive symptoms by examining vocal biomarker information from an audio sample, such as pitch or speech rhythm.

  • Assigning right therapist

According to researchers, insights from data can be used to better connect potential patients with right therapists and determine which kind of therapy would be most effective for a given person. Furthermore, after being matched with a therapist, it is important to keep a track of the patients’ advancement. AI can assist in determining when a treatment modification is necessary or if it’s time for a new therapist. A UK and US based software company, Lyssn, analyses utterances between therapists and clients using an algorithm to determine how much time is spent during a session on constructive therapy vs. idle conversation.

  • Comprehending the language pattern of the patients

In therapy sessions of the mental health care, patients are often interacted by the doctors or consultants. It is done to comprehend patient’s behavior, issues and other things. This is also called as psychotherapy or talk therapy. In order to make the session smooth and easy, medical healthcare professionals use AI to analyze a method called NLP or Natural-Language Processing. This procedure uses machine learning and identifies the precise words that a therapist and patient use to communicate with one another and treat a disorder at the greatest quality level. A UK based company, ieso, tested the procedure showcasing the potential of AI-based online therapy, with a 1/3 greater recovery rate than face-to-face therapy. Additionally, their services shorten waiting lists by 30% and expedite patient access to care.

Picture used just for representation

AI applications

There are several AI applications too that process human behavior more accurately. Some of them are:

Woebot, that claims to be an emotionally intelligent AI chatbot that provides a space for individuals to express their thoughts and emotions through therapeutic dialogues while also keeping track of their moods.

Youper, a therapy app, averse to decrease the level of anxiety and depression in a patient within the first two weeks of treatment.

Wysa is an artificial intelligence (AI)-based “emotionally intelligent” bot that offers a variety of tools and techniques, including evidence-based CBT, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), guided meditation, breathing, and yoga, to help users regulate their emotions and ideas.

Concluding Thoughts:

Today 1 in 7 people, globally, experience mental health issues. Hence expanding access to resources and developing new forms of therapy are essential to preserving both mental and physical health. Incorporating AI into mental healthcare solution could be a game changer. It will be feasible to assist mental health professionals in redefining mental diseases more objectively than done now as AI approaches are developed and enhanced. However, AI is a work in progress. It is unlikely that it will ever completely replace conventional therapy in the foreseeable future, but still the potential of artificial intelligence for mental healthcare is considerable.

A blog by Tasleem Majumder

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