Artificial Intelligence and us.
It has been reported lately that the use of AI and apps are helping mental health professionals to help support those who are living with anxiety and other mental health concerns because they are so overwhelmed with the amount of people seeking help.
The waiting list to be seen by CAHMS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) can be as long as 18 months at the moment and thousands of children and young people are now being recommended or seeking alternatives to seeing a professional face to face to help alleviate the pressure on the health services in the UK. Early intervention with mental health concerns is key, but if there is no one available to help, what should people do? Though many believe that the face-to-face method is still the best, the use of apps and AI have shown some promising results.
Headspace, Talkspace and Calm – can apps be the new professionals?
There are plenty of apps out there that promise to help you with anxiety, depression and any other mental health concerns you may have with an array of different brain games, puzzles, quotes, meditation and even talking to either an AI bot or doctor through them.
Apps like Headspace have received largely positive reviews with users saying that they have gone from meditation rookies to headspace heroes and have an improved mental health. The same with Talkspace, 93% of their users said that they would recommend the app to a friend and 97% saying that they were satisfied with the selection of professionals on hand. Users seemed especially pleased with the live chat option as well, both human and AI.
Apps can provide a service to people who are need of support but are potentially facing a lengthy waiting list but they can also offer the professionals who use it as a support tool some handy features.
It has been reported by some professionals that they are using AI to refine the diagnosis process which can help to assign the right therapist to someone, some are using AI to help with quality control at a time where the workforce is overstretched and potentially overwhelmed. This can help to ensure that therapy standards stay high instead of putting more resources into record keeping. AI has also been used to monitor patient progress and can help to prompt a treatment change, when necessary, after monitoring interactions between a therapist and patient.
A growing number of mental health professionals are starting to use AI in their work and it seems to be working well when integrated with human interaction. The question is; will the use and capability of AI and apps continue to grow so much that we won’t have the need to have human therapists anymore? Will people be content with speaking with a bot if the right answers are given? Will an app be able to do everything a human therapist can do soon?