Modern day life is a demanding process of its own creation and making, which possesses a tendency to push its residents to the edge, into the deeper and darker realms of their own psychology. However, such a lifestyle also produces its own remedies for such situations that usually appear in the form of psychiatric clinics such as Naya Clinics, personal therapists, or similar human psychology related treatments and programs. In order to keep a steady balance between problems and their solutions, the modern individual is more than welcome to utilize such services and those who do are usually more prone to achieving personal development and personal enlightenment to reach higher levels of satisfaction and success in their lives. However, given the market dynamics of modern day capitalism and how they always produce opposing yet equally determinant beneficial and harmful effects, further investigation is required into this field to make sense of the overall picture while focusing on the beneficial aspects of psychological treatments to minimize their adverse effects on individuals and societies.
Kristen Adaway for the Huffington Post reports on psychological counselling and mental health issues regarding ethnic and racial minorities in America to state that such groups are “less likely to receive mental health care than the rest of the U.S. population.” Adaway states that individuals of color lack sufficient access to mental health care because of high levels of social stigma, misinformation about such services and language related issues. Mental health is both a new and sensitive issue for many and therefore misconceptions do exist about it among virtually every community in the United States, especially communities of lower income and education among which minorities comprise a significant majority. Adaway interviews June Cao, a clinical psychologist specializing in mental health care programs for Asian-Americans in New York, who states that the primary reason why such individuals and communities shy away from receiving mental health treatment is because their culture treats depression as a temporary disorder which will eventually come to pass with time. As a result, the members of the Asian-American community are “three times less likely to seek mental health services than whites” in New York City, making issues such as social fears and isolation even worse for such individuals. Similarly, clinical psychologist Karen Caraballo who currently works with Latino families in Brooklyn, also notes that Latinos in New York City are not inclined towards seeking help for their mental health related problems because they choose to “rely on [immediate] family, extended family, church, el curandero [a spiritual guide] and friends.” With a cultural expectation to keep psychological problems within the tightly knit and isolated Latino community, such individuals often choose to forget their problems only to rediscover them later on in their lives, when it is too late to make any changes or improvements. Therefore, cultural differences in perceiving and utilizing mental health exist in significant amounts in today’s American society, which further complicates the issues associated with human mental health to add a new dimension of difficulty and prejudice into the process.
Forbes magazine quotes Anita Sanz with her professional response to an original question, “How do you know you need counselling, medication or psychotherapy?” which appeared on the popular internet platform Quora, to investigate into the most realistic reasons for seeking such help. Sanz states that it is important to consult a professional psychologist for mental health related issues and problems because such individuals receive 5-7 years of post-graduate education, undergo long training sessions to understand and assess mental illnesses, while also developing a specific comprehension of further scientific research. The author adds that, according to their inclinations and areas of expertise, mental health professionals can provide specific types of aid in individual or subject specific areas but regardless of such capabilities existing or not, all such professionals will either way be able to diagnose problems and disorders to provide session-based help to their patients. In the case that the patient requires further help and assistance, a psychologist may refer them to a psychiatrist who can provide their patients with medical diagnosis and with medication-based treatment options. Sanz outlines the advantages of seeing a psychologist before consulting a psychiatrist as the benefit of getting “an accurate diagnosis”, “an accurate assessment of the helpfulness of medication for your diagnosis” and “ongoing psychotherapy or treatment if needed.” The author then recommends doctorate-level psychologists as the best option for people who are not sure about their situation or demands, while in certain specific cases, psychologists from the military can also provide psychotropic medication along with experience-based assistance given the high numbers of special cases they deal with. Therefore, it is of extreme importance that individuals with mental health issue to consider these pieces of advice seriously to ensure that they get the proper treatment they require to recover from their symptoms as quickly as possible.
Megan Molteni for Wired magazine takes a different approach on the issue of human mental health to refer to how Artificial Intelligence based chatbots have entered the market after proving themselves to be quite useful in “counseling Syrian refugees fleeing civil war [and] creating quiet spaces of contemplation for millions of Chinese living in densely populated cities.” The author then refers to the project “Woebot”, which is basically a talk therapy chatbot created by Stanford psychologists and Artificial Intelligence experts that can help patients with their psychological issues by using “brief daily chat conversations, mood tracking, curated videos,” and “word games.” Being commercially available for $39 per month at the current moment, the project is quite promising for providing psychological help for cheaper rates to those in need. Woebot Labs Inc.’s CEO Alison Darcy adds that one of the primary problems regarding mental health treatment in today’s world is that patients fear being judged by others and therefore the anonymous nature of the Woebot helps people express their problems more efficiently and securely. The chatbot evaluates and utilizes the text and iconography input by the user to create algorithms for its responses but its main method for investigation is to ask the user/patient specific questions. These questions usually emerge to the lines of “What is your energy like today?”, “How are you feeling?” and “What’s going on in your world right now?” to construct a preliminary and simplistic form of talk therapy.
As patients develop further confidence in the privacy of the treatment, they begin to speak more openly about their memories, experiences and concerns, which helps Woebot to better identify “the psychological traps that cause their stress, anxiety, and depression.” When the system combines such input with the preset theoretical information it possesses, it manages to connect the dots to come up with diagnosis for such patients to refer them to real professionals for further assistance.
Overall, the anonymous nature of such interaction is a great feature of privacy and security, which will surely help individuals in need of psychological assistance come through with their problems and find the relevant type of support as quickly as possible.