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Tag: mental health

Crossing the Digital Divide: A Content Analysis of Mainstream Australian Mental Health Websites for Languages Other Than English

Murray KE, Musumeci CJ, Cassidy E. Crossing the digital divide: A content analysis of mainstream Australian mental health websites for languages other than English. Health Soc Care Community 2022;30(6):e4831-e4839. doi:10.1111/hsc.13890

Online mental health services are an effective way to provide support while individuals wait for access to face-to-face therapeutic care. As the wait time for access to face-to-face mental health care increases, so too does the use of government-sponsored digital mental health platforms. The Australian government funds mental health websites to promote access to these online services. This article assessed the accessibility of these websites for non-English speaking/literate users. Of the thirty-three websites that provided access to mental health tools and educational materials, only four had translation options available. While non-English translation was available on four websites, only two displayed the translation option directly on the homepage. A search was required to access translation options on the other two websites. The authors also assessed websites for inclusion of content tailored to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities. A total of 1100 unique content subsections were found across the 33 websites. Eight subsections were specific to CALD communities and only 9 websites even mentioned CALD communities in relation to mental health. Overall, the authors suggest that digital mental health tools should strive to be more inclusive of language barriers in Australian populations.


Navigating Tomorrow’s Behavioral Health with Compassion and Innovation

Article Excerpt: The dual challenges of increased demand and staffing shortages in the behavioral health space have made new technological tools a necessity. Efficient technology offers scalable solutions, enabling healthcare providers to reach and assist more individuals. Telehealth platforms, for instance, allow for remote consultations and counseling, making it possible to connect with those who may otherwise face barriers to in-person care. Mobile applications and wearable devices empower individuals to monitor their mental well-being and adhere to treatment plans, reducing the burden on an already strained workforce. Technology can also enhance the productivity of existing staff, streamlining administrative tasks, and enabling clinicians to focus more on the people in their care.

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Article Source: MedCityNews


Depression and Anxiety Rates Surge in the US; Technology Steps Up in Mental Health Management

Article Excerpt: Depression and anxiety rates have seen a significant increase in the US. As mental health becomes a global priority, traditional coping methods are being supplemented by technology, which is stepping up to provide innovative solutions for mental health management. Depression and anxiety have surged in the United States, marking an alarming 29% increase since 2015. This trend signals that nearly 40% of individuals over the age of 15 are either directly affected by these mental health issues or have close relationships with those who are. In response to this escalating crisis, there has been a global shift towards prioritizing mental health.

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Article Source: BNN


A Chatbot Helped More People Access Mental-Health Services

Article Excerpt: An AI chatbot helped increase the number of patients referred for mental-health services through England’s National Health Service (NHS), particularly among underrepresented groups who are less likely to seek help, new research has found. Demand for mental-health services in England is on the rise, particularly since the covid-19 pandemic. Mental-health services received 4.6 million patient referrals in 2022—the highest number on record—and the number of people in contact with such services is growing steadily. But neither the funding nor the number of mental-health professionals is adequate to meet this rising demand, according to the British Medical Association. The chatbot’s creators, from the AI company Limbic, set out to investigate whether AI could lower the barrier to care by helping patients access help more quickly and efficiently. A new study, published today in Nature Medicine, evaluated the effect that the chatbot, called Limbic Access, had on referrals to the NHS Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression program, a series of evidence-based psychological therapies for adults experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, or both.

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Article Source: MIT Technology Review


Efficacy of the Mindfulness Meditation Mobile App “Calm” to Reduce Stress Among College Students: Randomized Controlled Trial

Huberty J, Green J, Glissmann C, Larkey L, Puzia M, Lee C. Efficacy of the Mindfulness Meditation Mobile App “Calm” to Reduce Stress Among College Students: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2019;7(6):e14273 doi:10.2196/14273

This study examined the sustained stress reduction, mindfulness, and self-compassion in a sample of college students following an 8-week trial of the “Calm” app. Most college students (75%) report elevated stress during the semester, resulting in higher stress levels in this population compared to other age groups. Elevated stress has been associated with a greater likelihood of suicide attempts, which are the second leading cause of death in teens and young adults (ages 15-24). Mindfulness interventions have been offered on college campuses in an effort to reduce students stress levels. The Calm app is a consumer-based mindfulness meditation mobile app. Here, 109 Arizona State University students were randomized to participate in daily meditation facilitated by the Calm app or waitlisted for future access. Most participants (85%) enjoyed the app and continued to use the app for the additional month offered after the study ended. Participants used Calm for an average of 38 minutes/week. After 8 weeks, users displayed lower stress levels than baseline and compared to control participants (p < 0.05). In addition, participants showed increased mindfulness (p < 0.001) and increased self-compassion (p < 0.001) compared to the control group. These beneficial effects of “Calm” guided meditation were maintained through the follow-up period, four weeks after the intervention. This data is encouraging for the future of digital mindfulness interventions to promote stress reduction in college students.


4 High-Tech Approaches That Could Mitigate Suicide Risks

Article Excerpt: Can evidence-based technology help identify and mitigate suicide risk? And if high-tech solutions have the research to support their value, what is the best way to get these tools into practice? Researchers, technology developers and mental health leaders hope to find out soon. Under a five-year, $17 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health, the Center for Accelerating Practices to End Suicide through Technology Translation (CAPES) initially will focus on four technology projects. CAPES includes a network of organizations working with UMass Chan Medical School, including UMass Memorial Health, UMass Lowell and UMass Amherst, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Zero Suicide Institute and more than 100 other collaborating institutions.

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Article Source: American Hospital Association

How AI Is Being Used to Solve the Mental Health Crisis

Article Excerpt: Most systems have struggled to identify how to provide quality mental health services that meet or exceed the basic therapeutic response, which often consists of merely evaluating a patient admitted to the psych ward of a hospital, sometimes medicating them, and quickly discharging them within a few days or weeks under the guise of recommending a sensible “action plan” for the patient to follow. Therefore, to properly address rising mental health needs in every community, public agencies (specifically, health departments, school systems, jails/prisons, and even the military) are beginning to partner with private digital behavioral health companies to expand much-needed access to support services.

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Article Source: Unite.AI


Smoking Cessation Apps for People with Schizophrenia: How Feasible Are m-Health Approaches?

Sawyer C, Hassan L, Guinart D, Agulleiro LM, Firth J. Smoking Cessation Apps for People with Schizophrenia: How Feasible Are m-Health Approaches? Behav Sci (Basel). 2022, 12(8)doi:10.3390/bs12080265. 

This narrative review poses the question of whether traditional digital smoking-prevention interventions are effective in individuals with severe mental illness (SMI). Even though half of all premature smoking-related deaths are individuals with SMI, these populations are frequently ignored when assessing a new digital intervention. Of the six apps that have been evaluated in SMI populations (Kick. it, Learn to Quit, QuitGuide, Quitpal, quitSTART, Stay Quit coach) only one, Learn to Quit, was developed for people with an SMI. Learn to Quit was reported as the most user friendly, but was not the only app that scored high in usability for patients with schizophrenia. Learn to Quit (System Usability Scale (SUS): > 80) also scored high for usability. Unfortunately, Quitpal, Quitstart, and QuitGuide scored poorly (< 70) when used by individuals with schizophrenia. Learn to Quit outperformed QuitGuide in two key areas. First, patients showed better point prevalence abstinence 30 days after starting app use, and fewer quit attempts and relapses using Learn to Quit. Other measures of smoking cessation were exclusively self-reported. Generally, this provides support for the use of digital health interventions for smoking in SMI populations. Future interventions specifically designed for SMI populations would be an excellent step in filling this critical gap.


Dr. Jodi Halpern on why AI isn’t a magic bullet for mental health

Article Excerpt:UC Berkeley School of Public Health Professor Jodi Halpern has spent years working on the ethics of innovative technologies like gene editing and artificial intelligence. But lately Halpern, a psychiatrist, has been focusing on the expanding use of AI in mental health.

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Article Source: Berkeley Public Health