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According to the Business Insider, “roughly one in five Americans have mental illness and close to two-thirds have gone at least one year without treatment.” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that “the demand for substance abuse, behavioral disorder and mental health counselors will grow 22% by the year 2028.”
This brings up the question, can technologies help society recuperate from these sensitive issues?
Many who suffer from these problems choose not to consult a counselor or simply do not have access to one. Sufferers may be timid to reach out, find visits stressful due to personal trust issues, have social anxiety or fear of presentation.
So, as these problems continue to persist, technology may have the opportunity to help. We’re seeing tech startups providing an accessible alternative for sufferers who fear visiting a counselor or realistically can’t afford it.
Woebot Lab’s CEO and founder, Dr. Allison Darcey, invented a free intelligence software application that uses cognitive behavioral therapy to help users cope with mental illness and relationship conflicts. Cognitive behavioral therapy treatment changes patients’ thinking and behavioral patterns. If you tell Woebot that you don’t believe you are good enough, Woebot might have you rewrite this thought to allow you to further reflect the situation more realistically.
Often times, people find that reassessing their problems makes them feel better about a situation. If you ever need to vent about your thoughts and feelings, Woebot is there for you, 24/7. It’s like having your very own personal counselor on call. According to Woebot Labs, the AI counselor app receives 2 million conversations each week!
“Of course Woebot is no actual therapist, but he does a pretty good job of being a coach, a guide and friend when you need something and there’s no one around.” – Dr. Darcey
Source: ABC News
Intelligent applications like Woebot may never replace the impact of face-to-face conversations with traditional human-to-human therapy. However, it can help the downward spiral of emotions to a certain extent, acting as guidance support for reducing the weight in a person’s mental illness.