Mental health, so artificial intelligence can help patients and the health system
It will still take several years for new technologies, and in particular the combination of mobile devices and software based on artificial intelligence, to become a regular part of the arsenal available to psychiatrists and psychotherapists. But the prospects are exciting.
According to the latest estimates, one in six people in Europe suffered from mental problems in 2016, for a total of 84 million people.
The recent “Health at a Glance 2018” report highlighted the significant impact of mental problems in the European population, with tens of millions of citizens suffering from at least one mental illness.
To this social issue corresponds an equally high economic cost: it is estimated that the cost of mental pathologies has come to exceed 4% of European GDP.
Not surprisingly, many ongoing experiments are attempting to exploit the capabilities of artificial intelligence in the field of mental health. The underlying idea is to enable early diagnosis, spot risky behaviours (ability particularly useful in the case of suicidal tendencies or self-harm) and provide initial support to patients (in particular in case of a lack of mental health professionals).
The promise is to transform our mobile devices into new data sources capable – with the support of systems based on artificial intelligence – to transform diagnoses typically anchored to qualitative assessments into processes based increasingly on objective data, capable of helping the diagnostic process with elements collected in real-time and continuously, to offer 24-hour assistance at low cost and greatly facilitate access to services, even in conditions of total anonymity.
Read the full article (in Italian) on the AgendaDigitale.eu