Since the Senate healthcare reform bill was released late last week, there's been tons of conversation around what's in the darn thing. Among the rotten provisions in the current iteration of Trumpcare -- and there are many -- arguably the least discussed are those affecting individuals with mental illness. Mental illness is an extraordinarily broad category, by the way; it includes everything from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia and more. To escape the bill's clinical, impersonal language and get to the point: Folks living with mental illness are about to get completely screwed. One in five Americans suffers from mental illness, and Medicaid is the single largest payer of their mental health services.
Juba, South Sudan - On the side of a road a man stands by a wall ready to fight. He picks up a piece of broken glass to defend himself. The white cloth around him falls off and he is now bare-chested, facing five policemen. They are wearing medical gloves. "I don't want to go. Leave me alone," the man yells.
SilverCloud Health, the world's leading digital mental health company, today officially announced its research collaboration with Microsoft to further enhance its online offering with artificial intelligence (AI). SilverCloud and Microsoft have been working together over the past 18 months conducting research that combines Microsoft's cutting-edge machine learning and AI technologies with SilverCloud's expertise in real-world delivery of evidence-based interventions and mental health outcomes. Mental illness is a significant disease and economic burden; one in four adults globally are affected by a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year but access to mental healthcare is often unavailable because of long wait times or under-staffed care organizations. The delivery of care online helps to overcome these barriers. SilverCloud's digital mental health platform is deployed globally in routine clinical care providing coverage to 65 million people today.
Artificial intelligence is learning to take on an increasing number of sophisticated tasks. Google Deepmind's AI is now able to imitate human speech, and just this past August IBM's Watson successfully diagnosed a rare case of leukemia. Rather than viewing these advances as threats to job security, we can look at them as opportunities for AI to fill in critical gaps in existing service providers, such as mental healthcare professionals. In the US alone, nearly eight percent of the population suffers from depression (that's about one in every 13 American adults), and yet about 45 percent of this population does not seek professional care due to the costs. There are many barriers to getting quality mental healthcare, from searching for a provider who's within your insurance network to screening multiple potential therapists in order to find someone you feel comfortable speaking with.