Can Artificial Intelligence Help The Mentally Ill?

An emotional crisis doesn’t surface only in a therapy appointment. For those suffering depression, PTSD, or other mental health challenges, a breakdown can be a slow burn, developing over days or weeks in between doctor visits. Delay in treatment can have lasting consequences. “Very likely, every single episode of depression or mania is going to damage your brain a little more,” says Thilo Deckersbach, a Harvard psychology professor who practices at Massachusetts General Hospital. The hospital’s online MoodNetwork recruits patients with major depression and bipolar disorder for clinical studies, including a new one with the Boston-based artificial intelligence company Cogito. They are testing the ability of a mobile app called “Companion” to flag early signs of trouble by monitoring activities like patients’ movement, calling and texting behavior, and the way…

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