May 16, 2022

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AI believed to be the answer to helping young people with depression - NRK Trøndelag

AI believed to be the answer to helping young people with depression – NRK Trøndelag

There are many indications that more and more young people are in need of mental health care.

However, given the capacity of today’s healthcare system, not everyone will be able to get this help.

There are not enough therapists available.

Many municipalities are struggling with the hiring of psychologists and Psychologistsone appears Transfer by Sintef from 2020,

We must think in a new way about how we manage health care.

This is said Petter Bae Brandtzæg, Professor of Media and Communication at Sintef and the University of Oslo (UiO).

To ease the health care system, everyone should They get better at helping themselves With robots as a ‘wizard’.

300,000 messages reviewed

According to Brandtzæg, more children and young adults are turning to the Internet for help.

AI will provide young people with better and faster health care, says researcher and psychologist Peter Brandzig.

Photo: Werner Jovik / Werner Jovik

Ung.no is one of the websites that many use.

This is a platform where young people can go to get information about everything from school to falling in love, and submit their own questions to experts in various fields.

This site could be a goldmine for researchers to understand young people’s lives, according to researchers at UiO and Sintef.

So, with Dia Al-Din on her head, they made one algorithm which received 300,000 letters from children and youth.

Female, 19 years old: I almost always get frustrated.  I'm not so good.  My doctor doesn't seem to care.  The motivation for school is lost.  Don't feel happy.  I cry a lot more often, just thinking about life.  I almost have no feelings, what happens to me?

A 19-year-old writes to Ung.no that she is feeling down.

Utilization Artificial intelligence Researchers have found signs of depression among young adults.

Finds depression in seconds

Within a few seconds, the computer program can tell if the writer has signs of depression.

The algorithm manages this by recognizing the language and choosing the words that young people use about themselves.

The algorithm learns to look for words that are typical of depression, says Brandtzig.

Boy, 17: I have incredible self-esteem.  Feeling mentally exhausted.  I just feel disgusted, and hate my body.  Most of them want to be alone.  I will not go to a psychologist.  Feeling exhausted and all motivation gone.  What should I do?

Another message from a 17-year-old boy on Ung.no.

He then compares the words with what experts know as examples of depression.

Healthcare of the future

Brandtzæg believes this technology will provide young people with better and faster healthcare.

The researchers eventually want to develop a digital chatbot, which will act as a chat function.

Brandtzæg explains that during a conversation, the bot can find signs of depression, based on what you write on it.

According to Brandtzæg This technology will also be able to assist health professionals who receive inquiries from young people.

By using AI in conversation, you want to help them figure out what young people are experiencing, he says.

It is important to think new

You instantly become curious.

Here’s what psychologist Nikolai Kahn tells Brandtzæg about the research.

It is positive and welcoming of technology.

We should think new in this area as well, says Khan.

Nikolaj Kan

Specialist psychologist Nikolai Kahn is considered positive about the development of new tools in psychology.

Photo: private

He believes that it is important for psychology to evolve over the time in which we live.

It’s another way to meet people with mental health issues, says the psychologist.

He’s not worried that this tool will replace the healthcare system, but he sees it as an additional tool to help more people.

Girl, 15 years old: I eat less and feel constantly tired.  I'm just sorry for not having a particular reason.  I feel worthless and have very low self-esteem.  I really hate myself.  Lately, I've been getting a lot of ideas that I never would have imagined.  I lost many friends and did poorly in school.  I struggle to get help.  How can I improve?

An example of a message read by researchers and algorithms from the Ung.no website.

Responds to the robot as “Healer”

Aida Tesfaye of Mental Health Youth is also positive.

She believes we need new tools for young people to be able to help themselves.

But she suspects chatbots meet young people the same way they meet health professionals.

Assistant Secretary-General of the Youth Mental Health Organization, Aida Tesfaye.

The Assistant Secretary-General for Youth Mental Health (MHU) believes that balance is the key to a good conversational tool.

Photo: private

Tesfai believes that robots do not have the same humanity as humans.

– For the conversation to also flow, you need to have someone on the other side. Tesfaye says the robot is not helping.

According to Tesfai, there must be a balance between professionals and robot technology.

It does not replace psychologists

Brandtzæg points out that this technology should not replace healthcare professionals, but rather mitigate it.

He’s pretty clear that the goal is for young people to get help before they develop major mental problems, and he adds:

If you feel that this help is not good enough, and that help is urgently needed, this service also means that you are in contact with someone, says Brandtzæg.

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