Bridging the Gap: How AI Can Improve Access to Mental Wellness

With the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health has become an area of concern, as more than 1 billion humans every year seek help from clinicians and therapists to cure problems such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. This inevitable growing pressure has stretched healthcare and therapeutic institutes to choose smarter technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to interact with patients and improve their mental health.

According to new studies found in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), advanced AI and LLM models can enhance mental health therapies on a larger scale by analyzing millions of text conversations from counseling sessions and predicting patients’ problems with clinical outcomes.

Hence, for a more accurate diagnosis, AI in mental wellness has the potential to lead to a positive transformation in the healthcare sector.

In this section, we will highlight a few points where mental healthcare professionals, AI professionals, and data engineers could collaborate to eliminate ethical issues and develop trustworthy and safe AI and ML models for patients.

AI Trustworthiness

Data engineers should make therapists and clinicians aware that AI clinical decision support tools can sometimes make inaccurate recommendations that may adversely impact clinician treatment selection. Therefore, post-AI-based recommendations, clinicians must give a thorough read of them and improvise the treatment based on their independent decision-making skills.

Model Transparency

Although the ML and AI models have achieved high performance in the healthcare sector, these technologies often find themselves in a tough spot to interpret data in the mental healthcare sector in a given clinical setting, leaving medical professionals in doubt about these technologies’ judgments. The lack of transparency and interpretability can be fixed by rigorous quality checking and safety evaluation of the data before clinical deployment, a closer look at the accuracy and monitoring after deployment, and educating every medical staff member about the AI and ML models.

Data Security

With the increasing use of computation, ML, and AI in the healthcare sector comes the challenge of data leakage and breaching, which can be curbed by implementing strict data protection standards and regulations. After feeding sensitive patient data to AI and ML models, data engineers must ensure that all the information in the cloud system is encrypted to avoid cyberattacks.

The Future Potential of Digital Psychiatry

In the future, to discover new relationships between mental healthcare and AI and ML technologies, a very large and high-quality dataset is the need of the hour to collect and analyze the structured and unstructured data and feed it to the models. The increasing use of deep learning will eventually ease the pressure of handling complex data, ensuring that these models provide accurate information at the correct time. The introduction of transfer learning will help to strengthen ML models and improve their performance. In the coming years, transfer learning will be heavily applied to image analysis to find an accurate clinical outcome.

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