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'Enabling Empathetic Conversations?': A Critical Commentary On AI-Based And Digital Mental Health Interventions

Antony, Evelyn

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Abstract

The COVID-19 global pandemic has highlighted significant gaps in mental health services, as corresponding issues including job losses, physical illnesses and mortality, alongside social isolation, led to a stark increase in poor mental health conditions. Recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) promise significant transformations in healthcare, particularly in relation to digital interventions. According to a report from The World Health Organisation (WHO, 2022b), 970 million people worldwide live with a mental disorder, with anxiety and depression being the most common issues (WHO , 2022a). Furthermore, estimates suggested a 26% and 28% increase, respectively, for anxiety and depressive disorders in just one year (WHO, 2022b). Digital mental health apps advocate a myriad of benefits in the domain of self-help, including the convenience of on-demand access to resources, targeting a range of mental health conditions using a single application, and users have the potential to experience better sleep and reductions in stress (Higgins et al., 2023). However, many of these benefits are often made prior to empirical or clinical validation, suggesting that such digital interventions cannot be the only ‘fix’ for the mental health epidemic. Furthermore, recent research has questioned whether these digital mental health apps serve as a quick fix to relieve government pressures on expenditure for preventative and evidence-based treatments (Hamdoun et al., 2023). This blog will present a brief overview of AI-based (e.g., chatbots) mental health interventions in the digital age, critically evaluating whether such interventions enable empathetic conversations for those with profound mental health illnesses.

Citation

Antony, E. (2024). 'Enabling Empathetic Conversations?': A Critical Commentary On AI-Based And Digital Mental Health Interventions. [Blog Post - Cambridge Wellbeing & Inclusion SIG]

Digital Artefact Type Website Content
Acceptance Date Jan 11, 2024
Online Publication Date Jan 11, 2024
Publication Date Jan 11, 2024
Deposit Date Jul 3, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jul 4, 2024
Publisher Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge
Public URL https://durham-repository.worktribe.com/output/2516046
Publisher URL https://cambridgewellbeingandinclusion.blog/2024/01/11/enabling-empathetic-conversations-a-critical-commentary-on-ai-based-and-digital-mental-health-interventions/comment-page-1/?unapproved=109&moderation-hash=3faf1fee29508f6213d0a64f533ceef3#comment-108

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