MH News: Unknown Impact Of Chat Bots And AI On Mental Health

Last Update on March 3, 2023 : Published on March 5, 2023
Unknown Impact Of Chat Bots And AI On Mental Health

Chat Bots and AI are in the news everywhere! And of course, these two terms should be a matter of subject because they have taken people’s imagination to a next level. If you are not aware of ChatGPT, don’t worry, I am going to solve all of your queries related to Chatbots and mental health in this blog.

To begin with, chatbots are developed through Open AI (Artificial intelligence). This shows that they come with countless advantages, especially when it comes to information generation. They are so smart that they can even write essays and cover letters on a range of topics. The news to focus on is that people are also using them in the place of a mental health professional.

Shocked! Well, I was too shocked. I kept on thinking how this thing can even work? After some research and constant questioning, I could understand that ChatGPT works so that it provides information in a conversational manner.

For example, if I keep on asking questions related to irrational fears or depressive thoughts, it will keep on offering some effective tips instantly! The fact is that the person who’s providing the tips is not a real person but somehow it is capable of delivering the exact information we need to shift our thoughts to positivity!

Reason behind why people are moving on to Chat Bots is that they reply pretty fast and you don’t have to take an appointment to get mental health-related help. Well, what’s your take on this? Comment down and let me know what you think about this.

To read my take on ChatGPT and mental health counseling…scroll down to the next section.

My Take on ChatGPT and Mental Health Counseling!

Technically speaking, ChatGPT was never designed to take the place of a certified and experienced mental health professional or a therapist. And, the fact is that it is not updated from 2021. Apparently, there are numerous risks related to getting mental health tips from a AI.

To be honest, this AI robot never went to medical school. However, I personally think that there can be some potential advantages that we can seek from AI (especially in the mental health sector).

Some ongoing conversations with authorities actually showed me the opening of some opportunities. According to the statement of Chaitali Sinha (Head of Clinical Development and Research at Wysa), “Rather than fear around Chatbot, there is now an expectation they can also be used for positive impacts. People are expecting more out of AI than they used to.”

Benefits of Taking Mental Health Help from AI

If I begin to evaluate some advantages of seeking mental health from an AI, I personally think that there are a lot of advancements that should be made (speaking in terms of mental health and AI).

There are a lot of apps and platforms developed through AI and people must start normalizing having a mental health app like they use any other app.

The fact is that therapists are human and they can be biased sometimes due to their sub consciousness. A therapist can be homophobic, racist, and whatnot…however, taking help from an AI reduces the risk of taking help from someone who might not work for them.

Additionally, using AI provides a non-judgmental zone wherein a person can also share some confidential information. Moreover, it provides safety information to someone who is not ready to speak in person about some sensitive topics. This especially happens when someone has gained negative experiences through a therapist in the past.

Moreover, sometimes, a therapist might postpone or cancel the appointment due to sickness or personal issues. They are humans and they can also experience burnout! Contractedly, an AI does not get burned out, they are always available and they are ready to help whenever you want.

According to research, I could estimate that AI tools will be more efficient to provide a more tailored and personalized treatment, especially for people suffering from mental health issues by understanding some points like medical history, lifestyle habits, ongoing issues, and more in the future.

Moving on to the advantages, the other fact is that there is a long waiting list for certified and experienced therapists. They can only speak to one person, group, or family. However, AI can be an affordable and efficient option for those who are struggling with waiting lists or money to seek therapy.

We all know that we don’t experience mental health issues when we are at our convenience, it mostly happens when our lives become more challenging, and it’s not that easy to get up and get help during those times.

Technically, AI was developed to bridge the gap between the needs of people in a certain way that humans can’t. People are less likely to call in for support during a crisis; however, they can now easily get support from such platforms. AI robots are generally developed to help people.

Now that we have taken a deep look at the advantages, let’s take a look at the drawbacks in the section.

Drawbacks of Seeking Mental Health-Related Help from an AI

To begin with, security and privacy issues are the major drawbacks when seeking mental health-related help from an AI. Have you ever wondered when we share important or personal information with an AI, who consumes that information? There are potential risks of hacking.

Moreover, it is really important to form a connection during therapy. It’s really important to learn to face your fears and get a face-to-face interaction so that you can make your recovery more effective.

This is why people go to a therapist, speak to them, open up about their issues, and overcome their challenges. Certainly, AI-based mental health tips can never interpret non-verbal cues which surely a therapist can. A successfully based therapeutic relationship can provide the understanding and emotional support which an AI can never do.

Although the development of AI-based therapists looks exciting to me the fact still remains the same. An AI-based mental health therapist will never be able to match the standards of a qualified, experienced, and human therapist.

Consecutively, right now you might be willing to try tools like ChatGPT but the technology is not here yet. Even if it becomes live one day, there can be a substitute for therapy (be it online or offline).

While seeking mental health-related care, the goal should always be “understand your challenges and the ability to convert them into strengths.” This surely can be done by a human only!

Welcoming AI into Mental Health Care

After concluding all the facts, research, and questioning, I could understand that AI therapy and a human touch can be probably an effective option in the future.

It would be okay to seek quick support during emergencies but you must always focus on building a therapeutic relationship with your therapist. It is an important ongoing solution for effective care.

We all know that we all are different in many ways and a human therapist is capable of understanding such points. AI is being developed for providing the best care possible and AI can be used for seeking instant mental health care during dire needs.

I found one study that involved AI and statements from therapists involved during cognitive behavioral therapy sessions. The study supported the idea of linking AI with CBT sessions. This probably showed some improvements in the symptoms of clients.

I was not able to find more studies but I am pretty sure that studies like these can be more effective in showing us the right picture of the advancements being made.

It might be too early to speak in terms of AI and mental health but I can clearly see changes and advancements being made in the industry.

I am quite clear that solutions are being provided by an AI however, the team behind the development are humans and surely, they have used their experience and expertise to establish empathy and compassion in the AI.

Basically, we are looking for advancements that offer help and fulfil people’s mental health needs. I am optimistic that AI-based tools will be capable of providing more tailored and personalized treatments, especially for ongoing mental health issues after consuming points like medical history, lifestyle habits, and more.

Consecutively, AI tools might be beneficial for mental health but right now I stick with the point that face-to-face interactions are much better in terms of seeking mental health-related help.

I hope this blog helps you understand the impact and the role of ChatGPT and mental health. Comment down and do let us know your views on the same. For more such content, connect with us on all social media platforms.

Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Aayushi Kapoor
Aayushi Kapoor

Aayushi is a Content Creator at Calm Sage. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Food Technology and a Master's Degree in Clinical Nutrition. Her constant interest in the improvement of mental health, nutrition, and overall wellness embarked upon her career as a “full-time educational writer.” She likes to make an asynchronous connection with her readers. Her mantra for living life is "What you seek is seeking you".

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