Mental health conditions have always been a healthcare concern for society and the individual. In 2019 only half the Americans diagnosed with mental illness received solutions to mental health issues.
The covid-19 pandemic accelerated the need for a better response to providing care to mental patients. More than 40% of the US adults showed symptoms of depression or anxiety in January 2021 compared to 11% in the first half of 2019.
It is a well-known fact that there is a shortage of therapists in this health zone and the pandemic aggravated even more. This resulted in innovative mental health solutions coming up with AI playing a role in setting up the patients with the therapists, chatbots, and online CBT tools. The digital platform lowered the barrier between the practitioner and the patient resulting in virtual remedies showing greater promise.
The three main factors that have always been inhibiting for individuals to seek solutions to mental health issues as accessibility, social stigma, and cost. Digital tools are known to take care of all these issues.
Improving accessibility is the most important aspect of mental health treatment as statistics so that more than 125 million Americans live in areas where there are shortages of mental health professionals. The pandemic further aggravated the shortage and became a major impediment towards solutions for mental health during covid-19.
New mental healthcare companies are using mental digital health platforms to connect patients with therapists. The matching of appointments is done by using clinical algorithms to identify therapists based on symptoms of the patient, the location, mode of communication preferred like audio, video, or text messages, and appointment scheduling.
This meant that anybody who had a connected device could get on-demand care for mental problems from these mental health platforms. The digital platform also helped in reducing the load on practitioners and their burnouts.
The digital telehealth platform however is more suitable for mild mental health issues as these do not require continuous care, unlike serious bipolar and schizophrenic disorders.
Social stigma is a major barrier for people with mental conditions to seek treatment. In a study, it was found that 86% of schizophrenia patients conceal their illness due to fear of discrimination or prejudice. To overcome these challenges, mental healthcare providers are using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) online tools and AI chatbots. The anonymity of this type of consultation trial was seen to help ease the anxiety inpatient and allowed them to open up without being judged by a person.
This mode of consultation saw patients reporting reduced depression and anxiety. This artificial chatbot platform was found to be more receptive by youngsters as they are known to share their intimate details on social media forums and hence more comfortable with the digital tools. The older generation many have hesitation in adopting new models for mental health care.
Lower costs for mental healthcare
Nearly half of the US adults with mental problems do not seek treatment because of high costs. The online consultation fees were found to be half of in-person therapy. Corporates are now including digital solutions providing 24/7 access to the employees for treating anxiety and depression.
Post the pandemic digital tools and solutions for mental health are poised for the jump. People of all age groups are having more exposure to digital platforms and hence the lowering of hesitancy and the comfort of anonymity.