During the outbreak of coronavirus, the health response has been clearly privileged to the detriment of the mental health measures for containment, very impacting at the level of psychological and psychiatric. Mental health is, however, crucial for the well-being and is a pillar of our health in general. Artificial intelligences, particularly those who can speak with humans, have made themselves useful
During the period of social distancing to address the risk of psychological vulnerabilities to which the French have had to deal with. Fight against loneliness, stress management, tele-consultation, or support to the nursing staff, the fields of application of tools dedicated to mental health are very different. New technologies applied to mental health could be indicative of his new place in society.
An app that identifies problematic behaviors and provides exercises
Researchers from france and switzerland from the CNRS and the Inserm have contributed to the health crisis by creating “Covidout” a site of resources to help people in psychic suffering transient or chronic, and to help find strategies to adapt to the medium and long term to better live the crisis.
Behind this initiative, researchers are the creators of the application My Sherpa, which also has reached 50 000 downloads at the end of may. The application is able to identify problematic behavior (phobia, addiction, anxiety…) to try to change with small exercises, inspired by the behavioral and cognitive therapies.
Covidout is an accompanying lifestyle, a kind of coach. In addition to the programme and the follow-up custom, it also features videos and practical advice on different spheres of life such as sleep, sports, meditation, breathing, nutrition, sexuality, stress management, and conflict, psychology, gestures, health occupational therapy, etc., The user can also measure the daily changes of his mood and his emotions.
With the déconfinement , people have turned to Covidout to deal with anxiety related to the risks of contamination, the stress of returning to work, school, or in transit.
A solution of minds that accompanies the work
During the crisis, the nursing staff has been very much in demand. In the heat of the action, they ran out of time to recognize their own symptoms of stress — anxiety, insomnia, depression or psychological distress. This may be the case in many other professional sectors in normal times.
In Canada, a phone line, smart has been specifically developed to assist health care providers, and accompany them during the epidemic. The tool has allowed them to take a certain distance, stop a few moments and think about their well-being. This type of tool is a way to prevent the psychological disorders, instead of healing and combat trauma difficult to repair afterwards.
The limitations of chatbots therapeutic
If a robot can chat with us, answer the phone to help us take a step back in times of stress, it will never be a cure for loneliness.
The isolation has been reinforced for many by the pandemic of sars coronavirus. The interest for the virtual friends and the chatbots conversational has not stopped growing in this period
Replika, for example, a chatbot artificial intelligence (AI) which serves as a companion digital, has doubled its downloads. In France, Owlie, accessible via Messenger, has found between 100 and 500 % new users daily in more compared to the same period last year.
The chatbots can make us believe in an ideal partner, who never cuts the word to the one who speaks to him, which always remains polite and affable, and who does not judge us. However, there are still only a robot, and technologies have their limits. For Thomas Gouritin, the problem would be the lack of empathy. Expert chatbots, Gouritin explains that the assistants work with a system of detection by keywords. The chatbot is programmed to respond to certain words-warning, such as “sadness” or “loneliness”, but it may not necessarily bring an answer truly empathetic and able. And the fact of not being understood by a chatbot, as a human, can generate frustration and increase the feeling of anxiety.
Prevent for a health system more efficient
The generalization of digital tools could in any case be the opportunity to standardize the therapeutic follow-up of mental health, which is essential to avoid problems or psychological disorders. According to Xavier Briffault; researcher in social sciences and philosophy of the mental health of the CNRS, the French system does not address the prevention of crises, but only reacts to problems once that occurred, which is not very effective. In addition to the applications, Briffault believes that the school should also have a role in prevention, improving the mechanisms of social resilience in the face of this type of crisis.