POLL: Mental healthcare to include robots apps

Digital tools, like e-mails, texts and apps are a new way to access mental healthcare.

Techie mental health care is a good additional resource, but not a replacement. Psychology Houston’s licensed psychologist Tyson Reuter said you need to know if you need support or treatment.

“We saw this during Hurricane Harvey. Some of these things can be really supportive. But, it’s important to know these aren’t a replacement for therapy. But, they can be excellent for people who can’t afford, they might live in rural areas,” said Reuter.

Woebot Labs CEO and founder Allison Darcy said mental health services are perfect for artificial intelligence.

“Because there aren’t enough clinicians to go around, and mental health problems are just growing out of control at a pace that current services just aren’t able to deal with,” said Darcy.

But, there's still a lot of variables to consider.

Reuter said you just don't know the person on the other side.

“They might say they’re a mental professional, they fancy themselves as having treatment expertise. But, something about that human relationship that really does effect human outcomes,” said Reuter.

Darcy said there aren't enough clinicians to go around.

“The way mental health services are currently, it’s almost like every time you wanted to eat a meal that you had to go to a Michelin star restaurant. There really just needs to be easier lower costs and readily accessible,” said Darcy.

There's concern about how HIPPA laws come into play when it comes to e-help.

Eliza, the first digital mental health technology was created in 1965 by MIT professor Joseph Weizenbaum with the goal of showing the limitations between man and machine. Instead, it helped jumpstart artificial intelligence.

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