Artificial intelligence and mental health: The latest

by | Jul 12, 2023

Would you bare your soul to a robot or bond with a chatbot? How ‘bout trusting a machine learning diagnosis? Artificial intelligence and mental health: fantastic things are happening. Here’s the latest…

…a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study revealed that machine learning predicted whether a person will take their life with 80% accuracy.

The Age of Artificial Intelligence is upon us. And if it’s managed responsibly it can be marvelous.

There are an abundance of artificial intelligence applications up and running, and emotional and mental health is on the list.

Here’s the latest…

Background

“AI In Mental Health: Opportunities And Challenges In Developing Intelligent Digital Therapies,” written by Bernard Marr, appeared on Forbes recently.

Mr. Marr is a world-renowned business and tech futurist and influencer, as well as a best-selling author.

We’re going to rely upon his hard work and knowledge to get us where we need to go.

Let’s roll…

Definitions

Before we get to the goods, we need to handle some key definitions…

Artificial intelligence

A field of science concerned with building computers and machines that can reason, learn, and act in a way that would normally require the intelligence of humans or that involves data whose scale exceeds what humans can analyze.

Algorithm

A well-defined, in sequence computational technique that accepts a value or a collection of values as input and produces the output(s) needed to solve a problem.

Machine learning

A branch of artificial intelligence and computer science that focuses on the use of data and algorithms to imitate the way humans learn, gradually improving its accuracy.

Chatbot

A computer program that simulates human conversation to solve problems and answer questions. Modern chatbots use technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Artificial intelligence and mental health: Applications

I’m guessing you’ve been exposed to the artificial intelligence (AI) hype. Have you ever wondered if AI could somehow come to your emotional and mental rescue? Maybe you’ve had visions of healing similar to our featured image.

Let’s see if we can get you some answers…

Artificial intelligence therapists

Chatbots are on the rise and they’re offering advice, symptom coping assistance, and a communication conduit during treatment.

And catch this, they can pick up on keywords during a conversation that can trigger a referral and direct contact with a human emotional and mental health (EMH) professional.

Marr offers Woebot as an example of a therapeutic chatbot. It gets to know the user’s personality and adapts to it. And it can even talk the user through quite a few therapies and exercises frequently used to manage a variety of conditions.

Marr goes on to mention the chatbot, Tess.  It offers free 24/7 on demand emotional support and can be used to help with anxiety and panic attacks in the moment.

Wearables

Wearables up the AI treatment ante. They don’t wait around for action on the users part. Since they’re worn, and their sensors are constantly interpreting body signals, they give an immediate heads up if something merits a look-see.

Marr uses Biobeat as an example. Sleeping patterns, physical activity, variations in heart rate and rhythm – they’re all tracked and used to assess the user’s mood and cognitive state.

The data is compared with aggregated and anonymized data from other users to provide warnings when intervention may be necessary.

Diagnosing and predicting outcomes

AI, specifically machine learning, can be used to analyze a user’s medical and behavioral data, voice recordings collected from phone calls to intervention services, and more to flag warning signs of problems before they progress to an acute stage.

For instance, Marr mentions a review of studies conducted by IBM and the University of California. The review found that where AI was used to parse various data sources, machine learning could predict and classify mental health problems – including suicidal thoughts, depression, and schizophrenia – with “high accuracy.”

artificial intelligence therapists

“Come on, Bill, it all sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?”

Taking things to the extreme, a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study revealed that machine learning predicted whether a person will take their life with 80% accuracy.

And research is currently being conducted at the Alan Turing Institute that’s examining ways of using large-scale datasets from individuals who have not shown symptoms of EMH issues to predict who is likely to develop them during their lifetimes.

And if that isn’t enough, AI has been used to predict cases where patients are more likely to respond to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), therefore being less likely to require meds.

Improving patient outcomes

If you’ve wrestled with an EMH disorder, nobody has to tell you that sticking to a treatment regimen can be challenging.

AI can be used to predict when the user is likely to slip into non-compliance and either issue reminders or alert their healthcare providers to enable manual interventions.

Personalized treatments

Research is underway involving leveraging AI to create personalized treatments for a number of mental health conditions. It’s been used to monitor symptoms and reactions to treatment to provide insights that can be used to adjust individual treatment plans.

And how ‘bout this? A University of California, Davis study focused on creating personalized treatment plans for children suffering from schizophrenia based on computer vision analysis of brain images.

Artificial intelligence and mental health: Challenges

Let’s wrap things up by talking about work that needs to be done.

Okay, you may be saying to yourself, “Come on, Bill, it all sounds too good to be true. What’s the catch?” Well, not really “catches,” but there are challenges that are being addressed.

Marr talks about AI bias. He’s referring to inaccuracies or imbalances in the datasets used to train algorithms that could perpetuate unreliable predictions or social prejudice.

For instance, when it’s known that EMH issues are more likely to go undiagnosed among ethnic groups with poorer access to healthcare, algorithms that rely on this data may also be less accurate at diagnosing those issues.

And then there’s the fact that diagnosing EMH issues often requires more subjective judgment on the part of clinicians compared to diagnosing physical conditions.

Are you on board?

Quick note before we say goodbye. Lots in the works regarding AI and psychotropic medications – recommendations, prescribing, and development.

Well, that’ll do it. Man, I broke a sweat writing this one – so much information, so much learning. And a big thank you to Bernard Marr, by the way.

How do you feel about it?

The Age of Artificial Intelligence has begun. And emotional and mental health is along for the ride. The big question is, are you on board?

Bernard Marr’s Forbes article: “AI In Mental Health: Opportunities And Challenges In Developing Intelligent Digital Therapies” And take a moment to see what’s happening on his website.

If you’re looking for more Chipur mood and anxiety info and inspiration articles, I know where they are. Hit the titles.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline feedbacks
View all comments
Skip to content