By Dr. D. Narayana
In today’s fast-paced world, stress has become a common occurrence in the lives of people, and it can lead to serious mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, the growth of mental health issues is alarming, and there is a significant gap in the availability of trained professionals to handle the increasing number of cases. Therefore, there is a dire need for a technology-based intervention to detect and address these issues promptly.
Recently, a publication in the IEEE Journal suggested that Artificial Intelli gence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) could be used to identify and reduce stress and anxiety. The use of conversational wellness bots powered by AI can assist individuals who are struggling to cope with stress, especially in cases where person-to-person interaction is limited or not possible.
What is a Conversational Wellness Bot?
A conversational wellness bot is an AI-assisted chatbot designed to interact with people and provide therapy or support in the form of a conversation. The bot uses natural language processing (NLP) algorithms to analyze the user’s words and tone of voice and respond accordingly.
The bot interacts with the user to understand how they are feeling and assesses the severity of their mental health condition by classifying it into stress, anxiety, or depression. The bot can also identify the trigger sources of these mental health issues. Once the bot identifies the issue, it takes the user through various stress-busting techniques like Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Rogerian Therapy, and Positive Psychology. These techniques can be delivered through conversational mode, making it easy for users to receive therapy at any time of the day.
Advantages of Conversational Wellness Bot
One of the most significant advantages of the conversational wellness bot is that it can provide users with an outlet to express their emotions. In many cases, individuals may find it challenging to discuss their issues with a therapist or a friend. The bot provides a non-judgmental and confidential environment that makes it easier for people to talk about their emotions and feelings.
Another significant advantage of the bot is that it can identify mental health issues and provide therapy or support at an early stage. Early detection of mental health issues is crucial to prevent complicated and dangerous mental situations. The bot’s AI-assisted capabilities enable it to detect early signs of mental health issues and provide therapy or support to prevent further complications.
AI-Assisted Stress Detection and Counseling App for the Indian Population
The proposed AI-assisted stress detection and counseling app aims to target the Indian population, where mental health issues are growing at an alarming rate. According to a report by the World Health Organization, one in four people in India is affected by mental health issues.
The app would be available as a mobile app that can interact with users in their language, analyzing their words and tone of voice to understand their emotions. It would provide users with an outlet to express their emotions and help them avoid complicated and dangerous mental situations. The app would also use ML algorithms to provide users with therapy or support based on their mental health condition. The app would also provide users with access to trained professionals if the bot identifies a severe mental health issue that requires human intervention.
It is also essential to mention that any machine’s intelligence must be constantly trained and upgraded by psychologists to enhance the bot’s accuracy and performance. This constant monitoring will enable AI to suggest multiple treatment options for patients, among which psychologists can choose the best one.
Are we on the brink of a revolution?
The use of AIML in mental health treatment is still in its early stages, but it holds great promise for the future. As more people become comfortable using digital tools for mental health support, the use of AI-powered chatbots and other tools will likely become more widespread. This could help address the growing shortage of mental health professionals, particularly in developing countries where access to care is limited.
Moreover, the ability to provide personalized, accessible and affordable mental health support to people in need has significant potential to improve mental health outcomes. However, as with any new technology, there are potential ethical concerns that must be addressed. For example, there is a risk that people may become overly reliant on AI-powered mental health tools and neglect the importance of human connection and support. Additionally, there may be concerns about data privacy and security when sensitive mental health information is stored and processed by digital tools.
AIML-based mental health support tools are a promising development in the field of mental health care. By offering accessible and personalized support, these tools have the potential to improve mental health outcomes for millions of people worldwide. Although, it is important to approach these technologies with caution and to ensure that they are developed and implemented responsibly and ethically. With the right investment in research and development, we can create a future where mental health support is accessible and affordable for all who need it.
Dr. D. Narayana, Professor, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Great Learning