Almost three years have passed since the outbreak of Covid-19, but it is surprising that there are still few repercussions. This, along with the financial uncertainty that economies are currently experiencing, has increased the relevance of the social problem: mental health. Six out of ten adults Depression is undertreated in Latin America. This lack of adequate care worsens the impact of mental disorders among the population.
Additionally, stress and anxiety are on the rise. Depressive symptoms increased by 28%, from about 193 million people worldwide to 246 million. Likewise, anxiety disorders have increased by 25%, affecting 374 million people compared to 298 million before the pandemic.
In this context, finding innovative solutions to address mental health is critical. Today, with the increasing number of stories and discoveries related to artificial intelligence (AI), it is no surprise that ideas are emerging aimed at solving mental health problems.
Assessing a person’s health status through applications of solutions based on artificial intelligence and machine learning is a new way to combat mental health issues. „Mental health is severely affected in Latin America, and I call on leaders and decision-makers to ensure that mental health is at the top of the political agenda and integrated into all sectors and policies,” said Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, Director of PAHO. .
Experts agree that technology can play an important role in health care intervention as it can address the significant gap between mental health professionals and the public.
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Artificial Intelligence and Mental Health
This is the case Kintsugi Grace Chang is a startup pioneering the use of voice biomarker technology to detect symptoms of depression and anxiety in the voices of affected individuals. Focusing on changes in pitch, speed and intonation rather than specific words, this innovative tool has the potential to diagnose and treat mental health issues.
„The technology we’re using doesn’t look at what people say, but how they say it. We don’t care about demographic information or the context of what’s happening, because we look at the nuances of speech, so the algorithm can identify the person. Situation,” says Chang.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 700,000 people commit suicide each year, not to mention the other number who attempt suicide. The WHO suggests that previous attempt is the greatest risk factor for eventual suicide.
Solutions such as telehealth, social media applications, AI, bots, and algorithms offer a new way for individuals and clinicians to provide assistance, monitor progress, and intervene in mental health in a timely manner.
For the philanthropist and data scientist Michael BuskerTechnologies such as AI have impacted the lives of all people in various industries, including health: „As humans, it is important to be ready to learn and adapt to this technology. I am sure that this technological revolution will affect people. The lives of all people on the planet”, explains the scientist.
„There are solutions targeting mental health issues. This is just the beginning, but we will soon see how AI can positively impact everyone’s lives,” Buskar said.
Another example is a health startup This is, created by Mexican Andrea Campos. Yana stands for “You Are Not Alone” and the goal, as described by the founder, is to provide support to people who feel alone during a difficult time.
„Today, chat helps people let off steam and feel heard without being judged”, Dice fields. „In addition to helping users keep on top of their health, AI can identify patterns and empower people in practical ways.”
Currently, the app has 13 million users in 35 countries, including Latin America, the United States and Spain, with expansion plans towards Asia or Eastern Europe. Chat has until now functioned through scripts and preset responses, with several possible scenarios added, all vetted by a medical director and giving users the illusion of talking to someone.
As awareness of the importance of mental health grows, it is encouraging to see technology being used to provide access, support and treatment to a wide variety of people dealing with mental health issues.
These are just a few examples of how technology and innovation are being used to address mental health issues. From early detection to remote treatment and access to personalized treatment for autoimmune diseases, technology plays an important role in improving mental well-being.
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