Our minds take drastic measures to ease the anguish, smart algorithms find patterns and study behaviors that allow the physician to easily diagnose and hence follow up with the required treatments.
Future AI Technologies could help destigmatize mental health. The possibility of mental health disorders being diagnosed as corporeally as diabetes or heart disorders would take down the embarrassment and discomfort around the topic. Scientist Pearl Chiu from the Human Neuroimaging Laboratory hopes for the same and is working towards making it a reality.
Many researchers are actively working to bring more innovative and realistic ways to use AI in the real world.
Uses Of Artificial Intelligence In Mental Health Care:
Even though the concept of using AI in a realistic and viable way is still advancing, there are quite a few that pave the road.
The machine learning algorithm which was created at Vanderbilt university medical center gathered the data(age, gender, medication, and diagnostic history) of more than 5000 patients admitted at the hospital for suicide attempts and self-harm to predict the possibility of the same person attempting suicide. The results of the trial proved to be 84% accurate for someone who would attempt to take their life the following week and 80% accurate for someone who might attempt in the coming two years.
Even smartphones have become practical resources. Phones with algorithms to recognize the changes in typing speed, voice tone, word choice, and also monitor the behavior of someone over a while could predict the mental health of the individual.
EAR(Effortless Assessment of Risk States) is a similar AI that uses smartphone data to find people in need of help because of psychological distress. Researchers believe that someday EAR would be able to pinpoint individuals at risk of suicide.
Facebook, a social media platform we are very familiar with, uses AI Algorithm to flag posts that show possible suicide threats or expressions that show psychological distress. The platform increased its efforts to locate high-risk posts after several users live-streamed their suicide attempts on the app in early 2017.
Digital interviews by virtual humans. The idea may seem bizarre but it is possible. Having a virtual assistant conduct a diagnostic interview with predetermined questions could bring drastic changes as virtual interviews eliminate the possibility of the interviewee feeling judged by a human. This also in turn opens up the opportunity for the person to communicate their emotions better.
24/7 chats bots, This AI-based technology helps us take care of our mental health. It connects with the user and efficiently works with them to give better results. The reason this stands out from other resources is its accessibility and affordability. Today, we are made available to many applications that track our moods and provides us with a detailed analysis of our daily mental health. It also includes other activities like meditation and relaxation tools. Some apps with such goals are:
It is important that we look into the void of human emotions, sometimes even birthed out of denial of our interests. AI makes this task easier. We can hope that many more Innovations are born to help us fight this battle more efficiently. Just because no one else can heal and bring light to your inner self doesn’t mean you have to do it alone or leave it unchecked, let AI be the aid for every mental health-related issue. There again the significant presence of emotional human intelligence is involved to lead another generation.
At times, most of us feel depressed or sad. This reaction is common after a loss or a difficult time. Although you may feel depressed, you could have something more severe going on if intense sadness lasts for many days or even weeks and stops you from functioning normally. An individual experiencing depression has the feeling that they are trapped in their voice, without any shape or form to define them.
Depression is a chronic and serious medical condition that can negatively affect your emotions, thoughts, and behaviour. It can cause feelings of sadness and/ or a loss of interest in activities you once loved.
"I found that with depression, one of the most important things you can realize is that you're not alone. You're not the first to go through it, you're not going to be the last to go through it." — Dwayne Johnson
Depression, though persistent, is not a temporary problem. It lasts for more than two weeks during each episode; it can be several weeks, months, or even years. According to the WHO, the prevalence of depression accounts for more than 264 million people in the world.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), also known as electroshock therapy used to be a popular treatment for depression
during times when it did not respond to other methods. But the psychological impacts on cognition made it difficult for use. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the process of passing small electrical currents through the brain to cause a brief seizure. It is performed under general anaesthesia.
Certain mental health conditions can be rapidly reversed by changing brain chemistry with the help of ECT. ECT has been stigmatized in part due to low doses of electricity administered without anaesthesia, leading to memory loss, bone fractures, and other adverse effects when the treatment was first introduced.
Unlike ECT, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulations (TMS) do not require the use of anaesthesia and the person will remain awake during the treatment. As an alternative to ECT, mental health professionals can now use transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) which changes the brain's electromagnetic environment.
What does Transcranial Magnetic Stimulations(TMS) actually mean?
TMS devices operate completely outside the body and affect CNS activity by applying powerful magnetic fields to the specific area of the brain where depression (major depressive disorder) mainly occurs in adult patients who have failed to receive satisfactory improvement from prior antidepressant medication in the current episode.
The most common side effects during the treatments are:
Seizures are a rare but serious side effect seen. TMS is not recommended for people who have had a head injury in the past or those with neurological issues.
This is now approved by the FDA in the USA and by NICE in the UK for the treatment of depression. The treatment is predominantly provided by private clinics.
Every single method or treatment has its pros and cons. The pros and cons are:-
Treatment sessions vary in length depending on the TMS coil used and the number of pulses delivered but typically last around 30-40 minutes. A series of treatments are required for TMS therapy. TMS, which takes 4 to 6 weeks for its full course, is provided 5 days a week to the patient. Depending on how well an individual responds to the treatment, this can vary.The patient is fully awake and aware throughout the treatment unlike ECT. In this procedure, there is no "recovery time". So the patients can drive home after the procedure and resume their routine.
There are different ways to perform the procedure, and techniques may change as experts learn more about the most effective ways to perform treatments. There is no denying that this therapy is a breakthrough in the field of mental health treatments and despite prior scepticism, the responses have been in general positive. It has improved many lives positively and encouraged the destigmatisation of depression. Such advancement of mental healthcare is the advancement of humanity as a healthy mind, is a healthy life.
Content Writer - Ratan Ravichandran
Content Editor - Dinili Gunewardana
Content Illustrators - Meagan Cassandra & Elsa Aziz
Science's most complicated entity is regarded widely as the self. People have such a diverse spectrum of attributes that it's challenging to comprehend what is occurring within them. However, the Self-concept theory provides a reasonable basis for acknowledging the significance and relevance of our conceptions of ourselves. An individual can have many views of themselves; someone who is friendly, tolerant, compassionate and supportive may erroneously assume that they are unkind, arrogant, and unyielding. Regardless of how many distinct views people have, only one perspective enables these findings, culminating in a unified, coherent self-concept. People are more prone to avoid altering their beliefs if they think that something is in line with their self-concept; they tend to hold on to their current self-perception for an extended period. However, although it may take a long time to modify it, it is possible. This is regarded universally as the Possible Selves Theory.
As a pioneer and a learner, you must have the capacity to assess and synthesize material to draw logical inferences. As students are recognized to enhance their reasoning competency, they advance via three separate cycles (pre-reflective judgment, quasi-reflective judgment, and reflective thinking) (Love & Guthrie, 1999).
Stages 1, 2, and 3 of pre-reflective, students believe that their information is factually accurate and particular. This set of students gain expertise through their elders or their own views and experiences. According to them, a definite solution may be found by employing the correct facts and data.
Students at the quasi-reflective levels (stages 4 and 5) can detect uncertainty components and regard specific scenarios as really demanding. They are unable to understand ill-structured issues and would declare that it is impossible to resolve such situations. Aside from that, they believe that expertise is utterly arbitrary to them. Even though they acknowledge that facts must be used as a foundation for judgment, they only use data in an unorthodox and unique way. It is difficult for students at this level to discern whether they are making statements or supporting viewpoints.
In contrast, students at the reflective judgment level (Stages 6 and 7) are skilled enough to articulate plausible ideas. Still, they are never sure if their thoughts on inadequate problems are correct or not. As much as these students recognize their inability to comprehend, they believe that integrating data and qualified opinions may lead to an intelligent conclusion. In addition, students at this level recognize their position as willing members in developing their awareness of humanity and the world around them. They understand that information must be interpreted within the context of its generation.
Enter; The Possible Selves theory. According to Markus and Nurius (1986), A person's various personalities are part of a broader idea of oneself. Mentally developed prospective variations of a person's beliefs, aspirations, dreams, objectives, and emotions are defined as possible selves (Markus and Nurius 1986). It is a representation of what a person aspires to be. Although the previous self might impact hypothetical future selves, Markus and Nurius (1986) point out that these selves can be viewed as future-oriented schemas of self. This theory also has academic applications.
Students who do not hold high regard for academics fall into the pre-reflective category. When a student is at this stage, they believe in what they can perceive and turn a blind eye to inquiry and the pursuit for solutions. In most cases, these students come from a background where esteemed mentors and role models in school are scarce. Because of this, they seek a job but do not want to go through the educational procedure to achieve it. Although such a student may have difficulty developing reflective judgment, they can do so with the proper support. It would be beneficial to guide them through the process of identifying his potential as a learner. Individuals can best uncover their potential selves by studying themselves and discovering facts other than what they can see and hear. The student is likely to come across contradictory facts in his investigation, which they can deny. Thereafter he is forced to look elsewhere for answers, which causes him to move from pre-reflective to quasi-critical mode.
To progress from quasi-reflective to reflective judgment, a student must be prompted to reason their views when presenting justifications. To urge students to explore new techniques to validate their views and overcome these dissonances at the quasi-reflective level, one must encourage them to pursue new strategies to justify and resolve their perceptions. Knowledge becomes situational as a student connects facts and arguments with perceptions (Love & Guthrie, 1999). Lastly, a student should be taught to analyze information and draw inferences that they can use in various situations since this encourages reflective thinking and critical thinking in the classroom.
To conclude, A student who disregards schooling must be helped to alter his mind by combining the reflective judgment model with the idea of potential selves. The pre-reflective degree of judgment applies to such a person. For example, one method to help the learner go to higher levels of reflective judgment would be to guide them in finding their possible selves. Through personal thought and investigation, a learner might uncover their possible self.
1) Understanding and applying cognitive development theory- Love & Guthrie
2) Possible selves and adult learning: Perspectives and potential- Rossiter
Therefore it is not surprising that technology has made remarkable strides in the field of healthcare too. ‘Digital therapeutics’ (DTx) can be described as innovative, software-based devices capable of preventing, managing, or treating a medical disorder or disease. The treatments may take the form of information or visual stimuli, for example, and are delivered via phone, computer, or other digital gadgets. Though initially met with skepticism, digital therapeutics are rapidly gaining pace as a convenient and reliable source of healthcare.
Mental healthcare too has immensely benefited from digital therapeutics, especially in situations where access to offline professional help is minimal or non-existent.
The recent Covid-19 pandemic has witnessed an increase in the use of digital therapeutics for the treatment of mental illnesses as one-to-one counseling sessions, school counseling sessions, appointments, physical training, etc. came to a halt overnight. The significant rise in mental distress and anxiety across the globe intensified the need for alternatives to traditional face-to-face counseling sessions. Thus several digital therapeutic tools have gained increased attention amid the pandemic. Some of those digital innovations has been explained below-
VIRTUAL REALITY THERAPY
Virtual reality (VR) is a simulated experience similar to or completely different from the real world. A person using virtual reality equipment can look around the artificial world, move around in it, and interact with virtual features or items. Studies have indicated that VR is an effective treatment method for certain phobias, PTSD, ADHD, schizophrenia, helps people with psychotic disorders experience less paranoia and anxiety in public settings, and reduce social anxiety.
Exposure therapy is an effective treatment for anxiety disorders where patients are exposed to anxiety-inducing stimuli in a safe, controlled environment until triggers of the event no longer lead to anxiety. VR is considered to be a particularly successful method of exposure therapy. It is believed that the sensory and immersive nature of VR help PTSD patients get better faster than simply describing the trauma, and relapses are less frequent. VR enables the therapist to control the intensity of anxiety-provoking stimuli the patient is exposed to. Also, the whole setup can be personalized and themed as per the patient’s liking making it more comfortable and less intimidating for the patient. While research has established VR Therapy to be an efficacious mode of therapy, it is not yet widely used due to the high cost of VR Equipment and several other limiting factors.
Another example of Digital therapeutics is FDA approved prescription video game, EndeavorRX, developed by Akili Interactive Labs Inc. It is the first game-based therapeutic to be approved by the FDA for any condition and the first digital therapeutic approved for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
EndeavorRx is a prescription-only game designed to help improve attention in 8 to 12-year-olds with ADHD who have confirmed attention problems, and is often used in addition to therapy. Once a physician prescribes the game to a child with ADHD, the child should aim to complete five missions in the allotted time. After those five missions are complete, the game will not allow them to play any further missions until the following day.
EndeavorRX has been proven to improve children’s attention spans and uses algorithms that customize the game in real-time to adjust the difficulty level depending on who is playing to personalize the treatment.
It is also a fun, engaging, and child-friendly option and is usually enjoyed by children. Thus it improves treatment compliance which more than often is a significant issue among children.
This mode of treatment has been very well received as it is a viable alternative to traditional drug therapy which may have side effects.
Though it definitely has its drawbacks like video game addiction, the cons are minimal and will not affect the child as much as stimulants would. Pharmacological treatments for children have for long been controversial as these drugs often have side effects and children are frequently overprescribed.
Thus parents are usually more receptive to such alternative treatments and prefer them over drugs or stimulants. Presently these games are only available to children. Though their full potential hasn’t yet been fully explored, it is certainly a promising development.
Technological innovations such as these have indeed brought about a positive transformation in the field of mental health. These innovative treatment methods will enable patients to seek professional help despite geographical and other barriers without much hassle. While digital therapeutics have revolutionized mental healthcare, they continue to remain elusive in ordinary care scenarios as therapists are yet to adapt to these novel modes of treatment.
As digital therapeutics continue to gain prominence, the future certainly looks bright for mental healthcare.
Healthcare professionals are the first line of defence in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, circumstances force them to operate in inadequate work settings, which affects their mental health. Some instances of well-known workplace stress that could result in anxiety and depression are:
The outbreak has brought about psychological effects that debilitate healthcare workers. They are at a higher risk owing to poor working circumstances, which if not addressed could impact their mental health severely. It would lead several of them to abandon their professions.
"COVID-19 had an impact on us in such a way that I have faced challenges mentally, physically, and emotionally like never before. The feeling of impending doom by means of being at constant risk followed by a mandatory quarantine has made life very questionable. The question " Is this the life of a doctor that I have always dreamt of?" always has an insomniac effect! "-Dr. Aliya Amjad Hassan, Junior Resident [Ophthalmology], India
Putting burnout, tension, and worry on hold and overlooking stress-related signs are common. They are less likely to seek psychiatric assistance or help. In such situations, early implicit stress identification is critical. It allows prompt intervention methods to minimize intensification and total work burnout.
"There were times when the patient would be getting better and the condition deteriorates suddenly. Then as we started getting used to it there was an oxygen crisis and we had to preserve oxygen for more at-risk patients. We had to make difficult decisions like whom to save and whom to not. As a healthcare worker working during the pandemic in COVID ICU it not only affects our mental wellbeing but also our physical health." -Anjali Kottian, Respiratory therapist
The solution to this problem is a mobile phone application with automatic speech analysis by monitoring respondents' speech patterns during a brief telephone call. Detecting minor occurrences in the voice may provide a pathway into measuring the impact of stress. Faster breathing rate, increased muscular tension, and alterations in salivation rate are psychological effects on the body that impact voice output. It comes in handy, especially at urgent times when it is impossible to measure stress directly.
This automatic speech analysis will be conducted through telecommunication mode. Tele-sessions will be hosted by a professional psychologist/psychiatrist. With the consent of the participant, the call will be recorded for further clinical studies.
In such cases, teletherapy is convenient considering how they would be tired of going back to a clinic set up to meet with a counsellor or therapist. The option of seeking help from home is beneficial, keeping in mind the time constraints, pressure, and stress they face. This model also provides flexibility since healthcare workers can connect with therapists who live a thousand miles away.
How can we analyze and measure a person's stress level through the phone?
This innovation is clinically tested and approved. Here we use “The Motivation Stress Affect Questionnaire” strategy, which can be self-administered. It comprises 11 Yes/No questions that include:
The next phase is the evaluation of the answers to three standardized open-ended questions. It will help us capture natural speech within a limited duration. The participant will be asked to share their emotional neutrality followed by negative and positive events in their life. Each answer should last for one minute.
The comparison of speech featuring neutral and emotionally loaded questions will give insights into the affective state of the participants. The conversation then enters into a listening part aimed at exploring certain points in depth. Active listening will help them vent out their thoughts, and this will help in recording information for clinical needs and devising solutions.
The host will then proceed to offer follow-ups depending on the analysis and also give adequate advice on intervention strategies (eg: yoga, meditation, self-care activities, etc).
We think that this program can be further developed by increasing the number of sessions and encouraging people to consider this a proficient and worthy service. Connecting the application to helplines that offer free counselling for frontline workers would make it more effective. For instance, https://sangath.in/tele-counselling
An incentive like a cash voucher after a particular number of sessions will help motivate users even if they're exhausted after work. We can obtain these vouchers through crowdfunding or partnership with companies who are willing to offer them. Additionally, adding inspiring messages as notifications could help.
"Pandemic has affected my life emotionally and mentally in many ways as I had to witness deaths every day as I was in covid duty. Not being able to see my family in India and not receiving monthly leave has affected me badly as my kids are on another side of the world"-Biji Thomas, Staff Nurse, Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain
This initiative is a first step into the early identification of stress in an at-risk population. This can be extended to analyze and measure teens’ and women’s stress levels who are struggling with abusive relationships, domestic violence, and bullying.
Precaution and early identification are always better than late worries and helplessness.
Therefore, this innovation aims to ensure that the people who care for us to get convenient support.
Let’s fight the vulnerability by creating much better options to make sure that the warriors and real heroes who dare to step forward and save lives are mentally and emotionally well.
"It's not easy to accept each one of us if we get infected with the virus. As a health professional, it's difficult to convince and educate the patient about each step during the quarantine period. It is the time we should awaken and support each other to avoid the chance to get covid and teach them how to overcome the situation."-Aswathy V.R., Nursing Supervisor