The rising rates of suicide and depression among U.S. teens as well as young adults have now prompted the researchers to opt for provocative questions. The researchers now ask if the devices that brought in the blame for being a contributor to the tech-age anger, anxiety, and depression, could also function as something that can detect the same.
This idea has now sparked the race for development of apps that will warn of any impending crisis for one’s mental health. Call these apps Smartphone Psychiatry or maybe Child Psychology 2.0, these apps might actually serve as a life-saver given the fact that many times, issues such as depression is treated as a phase by parents, friends, or relatives. Ignorance might be one of the reasons for the high rates of depression and suicide instances in the country.
Studies have associated the use of heavy smartphones with the worsening mental health of teens. However, as the teens are scrolling through Snapchat and Instagram, they tend to leave a digital footprint which helps in offering clues for their individual psychological wellbeing. The sites they visit, the pictures they share, the people they talk to, or the group they are associated with, all of these help with detection of any cases related to depression or similar mental issues.
Dr. Thomas Insel, the Former Head at National Institute of Mental Health mentioned that there could be a chance for manufacturing more than 1000 smartphone with “Biomarkers”. These biomarkers shall be decked with keys for the detection of depression. Changes in the typing speed, word choice, voice tone, and the hours spent inside the home can bring out a potential signal for trouble.
Currently, researchers have been testing out experimental applications with the use of artificial intelligence that help with the prediction of depression episodes and potential chances of self-harm. These apps shall serve as a modern equivalent for tracking the heartbeat of your brain. There are several ethical and technical kinks to be worked out. This includes privacy issues as well as permission by kids to be observed closely. Developers now confirm that these apps can be out in the market in the upcoming few years given the research goes well.
Depression affects more than 3 million teens all over the U.S. and these rates have charted up in the recent decade. Suicide count has also risen for teens and young adults between the ages of 10 and 34.