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Can Artificial Intelligence Help with Mental Health?

Can Artificial Intelligence Help with Mental Health?

Can Artificial Intelligence Help with Mental Health?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now being used to treat mental health issues. The World Health Organization has found a global shortage of mental health practitioners worldwide. In addition, those in need cannot access many mental health initiatives. More specifically, about 70% do not have access to these services. To fill in these gaps, new models of psychosocial intervention are coming out, like behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) that can potentially solve these issues. This type of technology uses chatbots, AI, and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to offer mental health help. 

This article will explore how AI can help with mental health treatment. 

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of mental health treatment and therapy that has been proven to help various mental health conditions, like depression, anxiety, substance use, OCD, and more. 

CBT functions by targeting unhelpful thoughts and behaviors contributing to mental health issues. This therapy was created on the notion that thoughts and emotions are connected, and if we change how we think and behave, we can improve our well-being. 

What is Behavioral Intervention Technology?

Behavioral Intervention Technology (BIT) features technology that addresses behavioral, cognitive, and affective components. In other words, these components support physical, behavioral, and mental health to put behavioral and psychological intervention strategies into place. 

Essentially, internet interventions for anxiety and depression have facts to back up any outcomes equal to therapist-delivered cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition, various BITs use the same material as face-to-face CBT programs, which can help reach more people and make mental health treatment more cost-effective. 

Chatbots are BITs that help address mental health issues and conditions. They are software programs performing text-based or voice-activated conversations with users and responding to them via preprogrammed responses. Some examples include Woebot, Shim, KokoBot, Wysa, Vivibot, Pocket Skills, and Tess.

How is Artificial Intelligence Improving Mental Health?

Here are some ways in which AI is enhancing people’s mental health:

Artificial Intelligence Ensures Therapy Standards are High with Quality Control Methods

With more and more services and workloads becoming overrun, various mental health clinics are looking into automated ways of monitoring quality control among therapists.

Technology firms have taken notice and are starting to offer clinics tools to understand better the words spoken between therapists and their clients. For example, in the UK and the US, software company Lyssn has provided clinics and universities with a specific technology used to improve quality control and training.

Artificial Intelligence has been Refining the Diagnostic Process and Assigning Suitable Therapists 

AI can help doctors identify mental illness earlier and ensure more accurate treatment options. In addition, many researchers believe that they can use data insights to create more effective and successful therapy sessions that match prospective clients with ideal therapists for their unique situations. 

AI research also can place various patient diagnoses into different condition subgroups to create a more personalized treatment.

By taking advantage of AI technology, mental health professionals can look through significant amounts of data to determine family histories, patient behaviors, and responses to older treatments. That way, they can make a more accurate diagnosis and learn more insightful decisions about treatment and who their therapist could be. 

For example, machine learning is an AI that utilizes algorithms to make decisions. Currently, it is being used to identify types of post-traumatic stress (PTSD) disorder in veterans.

Artificial Intelligence Can Monitor Patient Progress and Tailor the Treatment 

When a person is then paired with a therapist, there must be ways to analyze patient progress and track improvements. As a result, AI can identify when there needs to be a different treatment plan or if an other therapist is more suitable. 

For example, Lyssn’s algorithm studies utterances between therapists and clients to show how much time is spent on constructive skills instead of generic conversation during a session. Then, improvements can be made for mental health treatment.  

In addition, Ieso is analyzing utterances during sessions, focusing on patients instead of the therapists. According to recent research, the team found “change-talk active” responses by clients, like “I don’t want to live like this anymore” and “change-talk exploration,” where the client reflects on how they can make changes. In addition, this team determined that not hearing these statements during treatment would signal that the mental health therapy was not working. AI transcripts are advantageous for investigating the language successful therapists use to get their clients to make these statements. 

Artificial Intelligence Uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as an Alternative Treatment Option to Medication

More prescriptions have been filled and continue to increase for people who use these drugs for mental health issues like depression. There have been many patients in England prescribed antidepressants in the third quarter of 2020-2021, rising by 23% compared, with the same quarter in 2015-2016.

However, the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has updated its guidelines to promote CBT before medication. However, remember that this suggestion is only for cases of mild depression.

As a result, AI can validate CBT as a treatment option, as reported by researchers from Ieso. According to a paper in the JAMA Psychiatry, the researchers utilized AI to distinguish phrases in discussions between therapists and their clients.

Since one of CBT’s main goals is to identify negative thought patterns and to find ways to stop them, therapists will use statements to talk about methods of change and planning. As a result, the researchers found that higher levels of CBT chat during sessions than general conversation resulted in better recovery rates.

Takeaway 

As artificial intelligence continues to evolve, it is being utilized in exciting and helpful ways. Chatbot assistants may be able to alleviate many people’s symptoms when it comes to depression and other mental health conditions. 

Keep in mind that AI is unlikely to replace traditional therapy in the future, but the potential AI has for mental healthcare is a huge breakthrough. This groundbreaking technology may have a positive impact on people looking for accessible and affordable mental health care and it is thrilling to see how it will unfold in years to come.

If you are looking for mental health treatment, our database at LGBTQ and All provides various resources to help you access care. 

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