Challenges In Treating Mental Health Disorders
One of the biggest challenges to supporting mental health is removing obstacles to treatment. Often people battling with mental health are in the middle of a crisis before they recognize help, and by that time, wait times to see a therapist can be weeks or months.
Another issue with accessing therapy is the stigma. Some people do not want to be seen going to and from therapy. They are ashamed of their mental illness or fear being condemned for it which might stop them from reaching out for help.
Two technological advances that promise to make therapy more accessible are remote therapy apps and artificial intelligence.
Use Cases For Remote Therapy Apps
Telemedicine has been around in one form or another for more than two decades. However, as the outdated name suggests, it started with providers making diagnoses over landline telephones. Remote therapy has only recently begun to take off.
Part of this lag is that therapy requires a more intense level of trust and intimacy between patient and therapist than many other medical relationships. Now that most of us carry an HD camera around in our purses or pockets, remote therapy is much more effective.
While there are countless uses for remote therapy, two use cases help to show how remote therapy removes barriers to mental health treatment
1) Time Barrier
Most therapy sessions are between thirty and fifty minutes long. But, when you have a demanding schedule, finding the time to get to and from the therapist’s office on top of the length of an appointment can be too much. Remote therapy allows someone to get the help they need in the comfort of their own home or even office. It helps people who feel they can’t afford to get away from their job to talk to their therapist.
2) Mobility Barrier
Furthermore, remote therapy can help people with mobility issues. Instead of having to navigate transportation challenges, a patient can simply answer their phone or turn on their webcam.
Mental Health Applications Of Artificial Intelligence
One underappreciated problem in mental health is that there are not enough mental health providers to treat all of the people who struggle with mental health issues. Could the answer to this problem be artificial intelligence (AI)?
AI is already being trained to help therapists diagnose patients with mental health issues faster. One of the primary ways patients are currently diagnosed with anxiety and depression is by completing a survey. AI is perfectly equipped to ask the right questions to the right people and then analyze the results.
AI could help give people preliminary diagnoses that open up treatment options, freeing up resources for mental health providers.
AI could even assign a severity score to patients using an algorithm based on the data it collects from patients.
Therapists can not only use AI to diagnose a patient more quickly, but also offer additional support through AI powered chat assistants in times of immediate crisis or train mental resilience to prevent burnout and anxiety attacks.
Though as much as AI can help to prevent and accompany a patient it is not a substitute for in person therapy.
Companies Already Tackling The Remote Therapy Challenge
This is just a very small sample of Start Ups and incumbents helping patients and therapists already. We are not affiliated in any way with them but we think they are doing a great job.
How to find a therapist online
How to safely communicate remote
Online & Mobile Support Programms
Opportunity In Development For Remote Mental Health Apps
Europe, Canada, and the United States are seeing unprecedented demand for mental health services. Unfortunately, there is not enough supply to meet this demand.
There is an opportunity for companies to develop digital products that use AI and remote communication to help connect people who are hurting with the help they need.
We applaud every brave entrepreneur for going into this field and helping patients and therapists. Check out our Mental Health Tech Landscape to see what is already going on in the European market.
If you are planning on taking on this challenge and feel that you need some help to get started – reach out and let’s have a quick chat about it. Feel free to book a quick call with us:
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Philipp – Co Founder Venture Leap
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