Artificial Intelligence app health questionnaires good at unveiling depression

AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new mental health assessment powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) is just as good at unveiling depression as the questionnaires health care providers currently use, according to researchers at the University of Texas Austin.

Researchers said the new technology holds the potential to help mitigate the national shortage of mental health professionals, according to a news release from UT.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, found the AI platform is able to evaluate mental health by analyzing text, audio and video cues during a bot-administered interview

The study also showed no evidence of gender, age or race-related bias.

Questionnaires ask people to self-rate their depression symptoms by picking a “best describes you” answer from multiple-choice questions, the release said. However, this app encourages users to talk about themselves in their own words.

Overall, the software will then aggregate the responses and gives that person an overall depression risk score, the release said.

Of the 400 participants in the study, 88% of them, regardless of depression severity, said they would use the app monthly for mental health monitoring.

According to researchers, the ability to monitor depression symptoms on a regular basis at scale could be a game-changer in terms of identifying who might need an intervention.

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