Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Mental Health: An Intro
The Future is here – Don’t get left behind

By Ofer Zur, Ph.D.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) once the stuff of science fiction is making its way into ALL aspects of contemporary life and mental health is NO exception.

From chatbots to computers designed to replicate such human behaviors as empathy, diagnostic decision making, and therapeutic intervention, advances in computer programming are opening up previously unimaginable possibilities.

As with any advance in technologies, problems abound and real-world applications look far different than what is promised. Nonetheless, artificial intelligence is already disrupting traditional methods of diagnosing and treating clients with mental health and cognitive concerns. Additionally, applying AI to the field of mental health presents a unique set of ethical challenges regarding confidentiality, clinical efficacy, and the role of human interactions in delivering clinical services.


  • The first application of a utilizing a computer to deliver a form of therapy dates back to the 1960s.
  • Training of students, diagnosis and treatment of disorders, and even record keeping, are among the broad-ranging applications of AI currently being studied.
  • Numerous studies have demonstrated that computer administered treatment of both anxiety and depression produces outcomes on par with that of treatment administered by a therapist.
  • Artificial intelligence is being used to review medical records in search of predictors of suicidality and the likelihood of developing PTSD.
  • Emerging trends include developing more efficient treatments of depression, anxiety, insomnia, and emotional well-being.
  • As AI is prone towards errors and biases, current applications often utilize the expertise of clinicians in conjunction with technology.
  • Ethical implications abound, especially considering that most of the work in the field is driven by economic incentives.
  • Current applications of AI in the field of mental health will rapidly be replaced by even more sophisticated technology at an exponential rate.
  • Technological advances open up extraordinary opportunities while simultaneously giving reason for pause and concern.
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