AI meets mental health
The Future. ChatGPT, a large language model (LLM) created by OpenAI, has taken the internet by storm these past few weeks. Now, many people are harnessing it to help them out with their mental health. In the future, LLMs could be a powerful tool to assist IRL therapists struggling with growing demand… but there will be many kinks to work out first.
And how does that make you feel?
People are flocking to ChatGPT for mental health advice.
- Users on Twitter like @jevakallio queried ChatGPT to act as a CBT therapist to help him feel better.
- @michellehuang42 trained GPT on her childhood journal entries so she could engage in “real-time dialogue” with her inner child.
- @sxtvik used the LLM as a mental health chatbot and reported results “better than any #MentalHealth chat I’ve ever used.”
People have even used AI to connect with and grieve the deceased.
The mental health crisis is a widespread and increasingly troubling problem. This year, according to a report from Ipsos’ Annual World Mental Health Day Survey, people ranked mental health (36%) higher than cancer (34%) as a top health concern for the first time ever.
Meanwhile, the therapist shortage is worsening as enormous demand outpaces the number of mental health professionals available. Hoping to fill the gap, there’s been a flurry of digital apps, teletherapy platforms, and chatbots in recent years looking to help out.
But, it’s important to note the many concerns that come with using AI for mental health. For one, there are bias and privacy issues associated with all forms of AI. And others have noted that bots are a poor replacement for the intimate, fulfilling relationship patients form with their therapists.
Whether you’re a proponent or detractor, one thing’s certain — we’ll have to tread carefully into the new era of LLMs.