Sunday January 19, 2020
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Lack of awareness causes mental illness in over 6% Indians

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New Delhi: Union Health Minister JP Nadda on Tuesday presented stats in Rajya Sabha mentioning that over six percent of Indian citizens had a mental illness like schizophrenia and bipolar disorders due to lack of awareness. The National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health had conducted an assessment back in 2005, which revealed that approximately 75 million people in India had mental disorders like stress, depression and anxiety.

“In 2005, the National Commission on Macroeconomics and Health reported that 10-20 million (1-2 percent of population) suffered from severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and nearly 50 million (5 percent of the population) from common mental disorders such as depression and anxiety, yielding an overall estimate of 6.5 percent of the population,” the Union Minister wrote to Rajya Sabha, according to a newspaper.

Though, the Union Minister mentioned that the data was examined in 2015, thus, a possibility of change in figures must be there due to changed lifestyle. He also gave the reasoning for the high ratio saying that the lack of awareness of symptoms of mental disorder is one of the biggest problems. The majority of the people suffering from mental disorders in India are unaware of them suffering from such illness.

There is a need to make people alert about such disorders and also treat patients suffering from it. Nadda mentioned that institutes and hospitals which treat such patients can be helpful. There are three centrally-run mental health institutes, 40 state-run medical hospitals and 398 departments of psychiatry in various medical colleges (183 in government and 215 in private) in rural and urban areas. Adding to the list, he also listed District Mental Health Programme (DMHP) (in 241 districts in all the 36 states/UTs) has been started by the government to treat mentally ill citizens. The DMHP offers help in school, workplace and also gives counselling on suicide prevention etc.

Moreover, common apprehensions of the illness are said to be emptiness or feeling sad or anxious, feeling hopeless or negative, irritability or restlessness, lack of interest in hobbies and other activities, loss of appetite and hallucinations in the case of schizophrenia. If one seems to have similar symptoms then there are chances one suffering from mental disorder and should consult a doctor.

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Researchers Develop AI Tool To Detect Mental Health Issues

Tracking changes in clinical states is important to detect if there is a change that shows whether the condition has improved or worsened that would warrant the need for changing treatment

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The USC Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL), which has long applied artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to identify and classify video, audio and physiological data, partnered with researchers to analyse voice data from patients being treated for serious mental illnesses. Pixabay

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can accurately detect changes in clinical states in voice data of patients with bipolar, schizophrenia and depressive disorders as accurately as attending doctors.

“Machine learning allowed us to illuminate the various clinically-meaningful dimensions of language use and vocal patterns of the patients over time and personalised at each individual level,” said Indian-origin researcher and study senior author Shri Narayanan from University of Southern California (USC) in the US.

The USC Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab (SAIL), which has long applied artificial intelligence and machine learning to identify and classify video, audio and physiological data, partnered with researchers to analyse voice data from patients being treated for serious mental illnesses.

For the results, the researchers used the ‘MyCoachConnect’ interactive voice and mobile tool, created and hosted on the Chorus platform to provide voice diaries related to their mental health states.

SAIL team then collaborated with researchers to apply artificial intelligence to listen to hundreds of voicemails using custom software to detect changes in patients’ clinical states. According to the study, the AI was able to match clinicians’ ratings of their patients.

Tracking changes in clinical states is important to detect if there is a change that shows whether the condition has improved or worsened that would warrant the need for changing treatment, the researchers said.

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Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) tool that can accurately detect changes in clinical states in voice data of patients with bipolar, schizophrenia and depressive disorders as accurately as attending doctors. Pixabay

This project builds on SAIL’s body of work in behavioural machine intelligence to analyse psychotherapy sessions to detect empathy of addiction counselors-in-training in order to improve their chances of better outcomes, in addition to the Lab’s work analysing language for cognitive diagnoses and legal processes.

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“Our approach builds on that fundamental technique to hear what people are saying about using the modern AI. We hope this will help us better understand how our patients are doing and transform mental health care to be more personalised and proactive to what an individual needs,” said study lead author Armen Arevian. (IANS)