Technology and Mental Health: How to Use AI for Depression Treatment

Technology and Mental Health: How to Use AI for Depression Treatment

Traditional outpatient counseling can be inconvenient and tedious. Not everyone has the emotional strength, time, resources, or discipline to go to a therapist on a weekly basis, sometimes multiple times per week. Besides, it is extremely hard to find a good therapist whose schedule aligns perfectly with your schedule.

It is because of these reasons that patients and practitioners in the mental health space need to embrace technology-based treatment solutions. It should be easy, convenient, and affordable to access mental health resources online, any time of the day. One way of making that possible would be to leverage artificial intelligence in developing apps and programs for treating mental problems such as depression.

Here are 3 ways that AI can facilitate faster and more affordable treatment alternatives for depression:

  1. Detecting Depression, Using AI

A research team based at Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, recently designed an experimental artificial intelligence system that people can use to track their depression levels. The system uses AI to analyse the content a user shares on social media and then uses the analysis to detect possible depression.

How does the system work?

According to the lead researcher in this project, Prof. Rajarathnam "Mouli" Chandramouli, the system can detect symptoms of depression with high accuracy and even predict self-destructive behavior from what and how someone shares online. One notable giveaway for depressed online users, according to the research, is the use of disproportionately many sad words in their content. Depressed people also tend to seek thrill and show intense self-focus in their social media interactions. What Chandramouli’s AI system does is scan your online content to detect a depressive element in your life before it progresses to full-blown depression.

  1. Medical Articles on Depression

Thanks to technology, there are tons of reliable scientific and medical articles for you to download and read at the comfort of your home. You will never lack actionable tips online for fighting depression and other mental health problems.

Where does AI come in here?

Well, some of the medical articles you find online are written by AI in collaboration with medical content writers. Writers use AI technology to perform repetitive, sometimes redundant, but fundamentally useful writing tasks. AI collects and packages information from statistical medical analyses, raw and tabulated data, peer-reviewed articles, and high-authority medical journals. It packages relevant data in different section titles for easier consumption. Performing such roles would only slow down a medical content writer and under-utilise the writer’s scientific acumen and editorial skills. These skills would be put to better use in high-level scientific interpretation.

  1. AI Bots and Apps for Depression

If you don’t have the energy, time, or resources to visit a therapist in person, you can always manage your depression through AI bots and apps. AI-based technology will not treat your depression, but it will help you access the help you need at the comfort of your home or office. Here are some of the bots that may be useful in your battle with depression:

  • WoeBot: This is basically an automated conversational agent that mimics human conversation. During your interaction with the chatbot, you will benefit from tons of self-help content that the bot has collected since its invention in 2017. At the very least, it will provide you with the companionship you need when fighting depression alone.
  • X2AI's Tess: This text-based AI tool customises psycho-education for its users. It gives you the health-related reminders needed for depression management. You can install the Tess smartphone app or access the platform through Facebook Messenger.
  • Wysa: This "emotionally intelligent" bot will enable you to stay on top of your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors through online dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
  • Youper: This “emotional health assistant” provides you with a platform where you can talk about your thought patterns, behavioral changes, and other notable symptoms of depression. It then gives you personalised feedback and insights to help you manage your patterns and symptoms better.


AI-based technology can predict psychological distress early enough; before it becomes full-blown depression. That can significantly lessen the severity of a patient’s mental illness. What’s more, for people already struggling with depression, an anonymous friend in form of a chatbot is always welcome. It can be easier to share your problems with a bot rather than with colleagues or relatives.


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