AI’s Potential to Diagnose and Treat Mental Illness

Garg, Parie; Glick, Sam
Harvard Business Review

The United States faces a mental health epidemic. Nearly one in five American adults suffers from a form of mental illness. Digital solutions – many with artificial intelligence (AI) at their core – offer hope for reversing the decline in our mental wellness. AI solutions are arriving at an opportune time. The nation is confronting a critical shortfall in psychiatrists and other mental health specialists that is exacerbating the crisis. Like all digitization efforts in health care and other industries, these new tools pose risks, especially to patient privacy. AI vendors also must deal with the acknowledged limitations of AI, such as a tendency for machine learning to discriminate based on race, gender, or age. But as long as appropriate safeguards are in place, there are concrete signs that AI offers a powerful diagnostic and therapeutic tool in the battle against mental illness.