PETALING JAYA: The use of technology will soon assist in mental health diagnoses, said Universiti Pendidikan Sultan Idris psychologist and counsellor Assoc Prof Dr Fauziah Mohd Saad.

She added that innovations such as artificial intelligence-driven predictive analytics would enable prompt interventions and revolutionise the provision of mental health care.

“Precision medicine is starting to live up to its promise as technology allows for the customisation of individual treatment regimens.

“This means therapeutic methods will closely match the genetic profiles and demands of each patient.”

Fauziah said beyond such innovations, digital mental health tools allow access to care and bridge gaps in accessibility and affordability.

She also said the tools would help reduce stigma around mental health, broaden treatment access for underserved groups and promote a comprehensive approach to mental well-being.

She said in the modern mental health landscape, advanced technological tools such as teletherapy apps and online counselling platforms are transforming the delivery of care.

“Teletherapy apps bridge distance barriers and enable remote counselling sessions, while online platforms offer structured counselling environments.

“Mental health tracking apps help individuals to monitor their well-being, while real-time monitoring assists clinicians to adapt treatments and enhance personalised mental health care.”

Fauziah said the therapeutic tools are integrated into clinical settings to virtually replicate traditional therapy and aid in diagnostics through digital assessments.

She added that digital interventions in mental health are meticulously tailored to cater to the multifaceted and individualised nature of such conditions.

“Machine learning algorithms analyse mental health conditions through data to ascertain trends and details unique to each person’s mental health profile.

“This personalised approach ensures users receive targeted interventions that resonate with their specific needs and fosters a more effective therapeutic experience.”

However, Fauziah said barriers to equitable access to mental health technology include digital literacy gaps, socioeconomic differences and internet limitations.

She said to counter these, efforts should be made to emphasise education, subsidise technology expenses and bolster internet infrastructure.

Clinical psychologist Dr Joel Low said digital interventions, encompassing mobile apps and online platforms, have revolutionised the mental health services landscape.

“They offer unparalleled convenience, reduce traditional barriers and ensure more individuals can access vital mental health resources.

“However, legal issues such as verifying a user’s age persists, as therapy services typically mandate parental consent for those under 18.”

Low said despite such hurdles, digital platforms have bridged geographical gaps and now benefit even those in remote areas who previously lacked access to therapists.

He also said digital interventions have proven beneficial for the provision of mental health care, adding that integrating technology into therapy primarily enhances accessibility and streamlines logistical tasks.

“While face-to-face interactions foster deep connections, the convenience and reach offered by technology are undeniable advantages in modern therapeutic practices.”

He said data protection and confidentiality are the most important factors to account for when incorporating technology into mental health therapy.

Many practitioners adopt benchmarks such as the US Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 to ensure the highest level of data protection.

“As technology evolves, maintaining this trust becomes even more critical and necessitates continuous vigilance and protection to safeguard information on digital platforms.”

Low said emerging research highlights the effectiveness of technology-based mental health interventions, adding that the personal nature of therapy means preferences for digital versus traditional methods vary among therapists and patients.

“Recognising this diversity emphasises that mental health care is not ‘one-size-fits-all’ despite technological advancements.”