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AI tools could detect mental health issues early on

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With most countries into various extensions of their lockdown in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, isolation, fear over the loss of job and lack of physical contact is leading to mental health problems amongst individuals. The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the need to urgently increase investment in services for mental health or risk a massive increase in mental health conditions in the coming months, according to a policy brief on COVID-19 and mental health issued by the United Nations last week. Earlier this year, The University of Southern California Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (USC SAIL), a centre that focuses on analyzing signals by people, from people and for people, in a new collaboration with UCLA, found that an AI tool can accurately detect changes in clinical states from speech as well as physicians. With social distancing being the new normal, Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools can prove effective in filling the gaps in mental health care: be it the diagnosis or detection of the early signs of mental health issues.
USC SAIL, which has long applied AI and machine learning to identify and classify video, audio and physiological data, when using the AI tool to analyse voice messages of consenting study participants, was able to match clinicians’ ratings of their patients. AI can perhaps be used as a tool for patients to monitor their own mental health.
In other earlier studies, USC SAIL-affiliated technologies were able to identify if individuals in therapy were likely to split up, helped study participants know if their partners were feeling stressed, and have even monitored on-the-job stress factors for nurses.
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