According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 20% of U.S. adults experience mental illness in a given year. With mental health clearly being such a large issue in America today, it is important that everyone is able to access mental healthcare. For those unable to see a psychiatrist or psychologist in person, mental health assessment software can be essential to receiving proper treatment. But what exactly does this new technology do? Read more to find out.
What Exactly Is Mental Health Assessment Software?
Mental health assessment software can be available both online or in person at a primary care doctor’s office. This software digitizes the mental health diagnosing process through a series of questions and tests, and is able to return results that correlate with a large percentage of in-person diagnoses. Some software programs are then able to take that diagnosis and generate symptom ratings, self-harm risk assessments, and referral letters for in-person care.
How Does It Create A Diagnosis?
Most mental health care providers have a standard list of questions and tests they use to diagnose their patients. While a computer cannot necessarily interpret nuance the same way a human can, the mental health assessment software limits what nuance it needs to process to begin with by using directed questions with limited responses available. By streamlining the efficacy of these tests, the computer is able to return a near-identical diagnosis compared to one that would be created after an in-person examination.
Why Is This Important?
While many people have proper access to psychological testing through their primary care doctor or specialized psychologists and psychiatrists, this is not the case for everyone. People in rural areas often live far from the nearest mental health specialist, and some people are unable to afford the cost of a mental health specialist. By being able to access tools like mental health assessment software online, people suffering from mental illness will be able to at least get a proper diagnosis and plan for future treatment that way.
Additionally, not all primary practitioners are qualified to provide mental health care, or for other reasons are unable to provide patients with the care needed to assist in their mental health. For primary care providers able to access this software in their office, this could allow them to treat more people more efficiently. Because the results between a software diagnosis and an in-person diagnosis so strongly correlate, the results from a digital exam are extremely likely to be accurate, therefore filling the gap in the primary healthcare provider’s services. Overall, mental health assessment software could make the difference for those suffering from mental illness who cannot otherwise access treatment.