Artificial Intelligence or AI, refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines programmed to think like humans and imitate their actions. Though some are still afraid or unaware of this technology, it continues to make progress in providing support and convenience to our world. With the rise of smart homes and virtual assistants, Artificial Intelligence is also advancing psychiatry at present. Here’s how:
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around 800,000 die every year due to suicide. Depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, are only some of the common mental health disorders a suicidal person usually has. Because not everyone dares to open up about what they are going through or is lucky enough to have a support system, it’s hard for them to receive the help they need. They may not even know their psychological condition if they don’t get diagnosed. A team of researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder are now working on a speech-based app that can recognize psychological disorders and detect signs of suicidal intent. Assisting clinicians, the app has the ability to catch subtle cues or warning signs humans can miss.
Researchers from the World Well-Being Project (WWBP) also made findings. By using an AI algorithm on social media, they identified significant language markers that revealed someone’s mental state. Words conveying loneliness and use of “I”, “me”, and “feelings”, for instance, predicted depression. Moreover, other researchers are using AI technology to explore the way facial expressions, words, and tone, can indicate suicide risk.
As we speak, there’s a lot of existing behavioral healthcare applications providing support worldwide: Quartet, made in 2014, detects possible mental conditions and refers clients to a provider or a computerized cognitive behavioral therapy program. Ginger is a chat application employers use to provide direct counseling services to employees. CompanionMX has an app that allows patients to create an audio log where they can talk about how they are feeling. Its AI system analyzes the recording to look for changes in behavior. Lastly, Bark is a phone tracker app parents use to monitor their child’s messaging and social media platforms. It has the ability to identify signs of cyberbullying, depression, suicidal thoughts, and even sexting on a minor’s phone.
Humans and AI make a unique, intriguing connection. AI technology can emulate human presence to aid those who need it. They can also interact with their user just like a real friend or therapist. By simply using a mobile app, for example, you feel as though you’re not alone at all. You have someone to accompany you, talk to you, listen to your concerns, and help you with your struggles, 24/7. What’s more, it doesn’t require much effort or money, and you don’t have to worry about facing anyone if it’s difficult for you.
We’re still far off from perfecting this new relationship, but we’re already making a difference. Artificial Intelligence is truly an amazing invention. Nonetheless, we must continue to give our best in doing what only we can do. Together with AI, we can reach greater heights for mental health.
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