Skip to content

Four Ways in Which AI can Help Make Mental Healthcare More Accessible

2020 was harsh on humanity in general and on the mental health of people worldwide, in particular. Depression, anxiety, and fear were paramount. Help is just an App away, only if you knew! Help is pivotal to the welfare of patients who need support to maintain their mental health. Artificial intelligence has been put to use widely in the last year for a wide range of such individuals — Those who were stuck in isolation wards as a direct impact of the pandemic, those who could no longer reach out to friends in work places due to the new normal work-from-home scenario, those who required clinical help but were hesitant to approach a specialist, et al. The number of people suffering from the big D sizeably increased due to Covid-19. NIH stats revealed that one in five Americans lives with a mental illness. Only a small percentage of these people get the required treatment, for various reasons including shortage of mental healthcare. AI can chip in to reduce the burden of mental health problems.

AI-powered apps for Mental Health

Woebot, developed by a team of Stanford psychologists and AI experts is an app-based mood tracker. It is a smart combination of a chatbot, AI as well as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) designed to help people manage their mental health issues on their own. This is immensely helpful for those who do not seek mental health because of the stigma attached as such chatbot-apps can effectively deliver CBT. Woebot uses a paid subscription model for chats, mood tracking, and word games and engages with users who have depression or anxiety. The app’s COVID-19 program, Perspectives, helps provide guided meditation techniques and gives tips to users which help in combating cabin fever or even facilitates connecting with others while maintaining social distancing.

Wysa, the AI-based ’emotionally intelligent’ conversational chatbot applies techniques such as CBT, dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT), and even meditation support for those dealing with anxiety, depression, stress, other issues. When a UK-based individual committed suicide due to the fear of self-isolation during Covid-19, the founders of Elomia worked towards launching this app. Elomia, the AI-driven therapy chatbox, works via Facebook Messenger, and can be a companion to those dealing with anxiety and sadness. It can converse after hearing what the user is saying and respond in a way that the user feels better. This is done using CBT.

Suicide Management

Data Science has made great advances in some areas of mental healthcare, particularly in suicide prevention. Till now suicide prevention was enabled by mental healthcare professionals on the basis of their experience with such individuals, the previous reports of the patient, and data available to them such as their incidents of substance abuse etc. Increasingly, ML is applied to crisis counselling hotlines and helps identify callers who are at a greater risk of harming themselves by detecting certain words they use to communicate. The hotlines gather data constantly which helps them identify individuals-at-risk with a greater precision than human professionals as they are able to browse through a wide range of factors to arrive at results.

Better Understanding of Problems | Data Gathering Support Tools

The body language of Ellie, the data-gatherer (3-D Chat Bot by researchers at the University of Southern California’s Institute for Creative Technologies) was based on hours of recorded videos, and mimics that of a mental health therapist/professional. The advantage being that in Ellie’s presence, patients can be more forthcoming about their problems versus when they are seated face-to-face with a real human being. This still holds true for veterans vis-a-vis the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses in many communities. Make no mistake; Ellie cannot replace the real professionals. She correctly identifies when a patient has PTSD in the manner in which they touch their hands or heads. Ellie thus is an extremely beneficial treatment support tool which is data-driven.

Text and written language analysis

Text and written language analysis is being considered as a key area where AI can help mental healthcare professionals such as psychiatrists, counsellors, and therapists. ML algorithms have been trained to pick and assess the words chosen by patients on their written notes to give a warning to the professional treating them. Thearchat is an app with a customizable chat bot designed to analyze text-based conversations. It picks up negative or positive words used by the patient for a detailed investigation which helps professionals in devising better treatment plans.

Mental healthcare has an enormous potential to grow for the benefit of mankind using AI. The advancements in this field are albeit slow as compared to other branches of healthcare.

Video editing and film-making

If you have ever been in the business of video editing, especially when a famous celebrity was involved, and no matter how much you try to salvage the video, you cannot; deepfakes will help with that clip and your video will be made uninterrupted. Earlier, movie directors would spend millions on creating the perfect location for their movies. This is now achievable with a far lesser sum using deepfake and AI. Deepfakes can be real game-changers in film-making. Imagine new movies starring Charlie Chaplin opening to full houses. This, ofcourse, after all the copyright issues are taken into consideration..

How AI helped in completion of Beethoven’s unfinished 10th symphony

music lovers can rejoice as beethoven’s unfinished 10th symphony has finally seen the light of the day thanks to a brilliant semblance of artificial intelligence and human work.
know more

Delving Into The Wonder That is 3D Realism

a couple of weeks ago, the release of nike’s air shoe video made headlines. the shoe in question was not a real shoe but just a 3d ar object which would make the viewer believe it was a real shoe.
know more

The Story of Data with Kuntal Malia

searching through 1000s of options online or going to stores to find outfits you love is an endless process. stylenook eliminates this process through a hyper-personalised recommendation service
know more

AI helps in identifying those at risk of Sleep Apnea

in our last blogpost we discussed the potential role of ai in the study of sleep disorders. an ai project has found some factors that lead to sleep apnea in patients.
know more

wasim basir

marketing, board member

It’s most obvious in the digital media space, from click buys to personalized web experiences. For marketing, the AI journey has just kick-started, while in the tech sector it has been applied for a while now. We are still at an early stage where inroads are being made into AI content via chatbots and even some explanatory content creation but what will make anyone jump up and embrace it is when we will start seeing a lot of mainstream content being created by AI.

rich arnold

board member

Prior to joining Infinite Analytics, Richard served as the CFO of CrowdFlower, COO and CFO of Phoenix Technologies, as a member of the board of directors and chairman of the Audit Committee at Intellisync, and previously as CFO and executive vice president strategy and corporate development at Charles Schwab.

pravin gandhi

board member

Pravin Gandhi has over 50 years of entrepreneurial operational and investing experience in the IT industry in India. He was a founding partner of the first early stage fund India - INFINITY. Subsequently a founding partner in Seedfund I & II. With over 18 years of investing experience, he is extensively well networked in investment and entrepreneurial scene and is an active early stage angel investor in tech & impact space. Pravin holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cornell University, and serves on the board of several private corporations in India. He is on the board of SINE, IIT Mumbai Incubator.

Purushotham Botla

co-founder & cto

Puru has his Masters in Engineering and Management from MIT. Prior to MIT, he worked with Fidelity Investments building electronic trading products and high volume market data processing applications. He has completed his BE from VJTI, Mumbai.


Deb Roy

Executive Director, MIT Media Lab

Deb Roy is Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT where he directs the MIT Center for Constructive Communication, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. He leads research in applied machine learning and human-machine interaction with applications in designing systems for learning and constructive dialogue, and for mapping and analyzing large scale media ecosystems. Deb is also co-founder and Chair of Cortico, a nonprofit social technology company that develops and operates the Local Voices Network to surface underheard voices and bridge divides.

Roy served as Executive Director of the MIT Media Lab from 2019-2021. He was co-founder and CEO of Bluefin Labs, a media analytics company that analyzed the interactions between television and social media at scale. Bluefin was acquired by Twitter in 2013, Twitter’s largest acquisition of the time. From 2013-2017 Roy served as Twitter’s Chief Media Scientist.

Erik Brynjolfsson

Board Member

Erik Brynjolfsson is the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Professor and Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered AI (HAI), and Director of the Stanford Digital Economy Lab. He also is the Ralph Landau Senior Fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), Professor by Courtesy at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Department of Economics, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER).

Akash Bhatia

Co-Founder and CEO

Akash co-founded IA while studying for his MBA from MIT. Prior to MIT Sloan, he co-founded Zoonga. Before this, Akash was an engineer with Oracle in Silicon Valley. He has completed his M.S from University of Cincinnati and B.E from the College of Engineering, Pune.