Pandemic Has Exacerbated Mental Health Care Demand, but There Is a Supply Shortage: Can AI Help?
Published April 26, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic has receded in the United States and many parts of the world except for some European countries and China, where there was a sharp rise in infection caused by the omicron subvariant BA.2, which is more transmissible than the original omicron (BA.1). In general, the world is trying to get back to the pre-pandemic normal. In the U.S., most pandemic-induced restrictions have been removed in all 50 states. It is unclear how states and counties would respond if BA.2, which is currently the cause of 85% of all reported infections, causes a surge like in Europe. Health officials have cautiously warned that some, if not all, mandates may come back if a quick surge in cases is observed. Have we learned to “live with the virus”? That is not entirely clear. The good news from the U.K. is that, unlike with the delta and omicron variants, ICU admissions and deaths did not rise with the latest surge, suggesting that immunity from the vaccine and/or previous infections helped keep the blow mild and the virus at the endemic level.
However, it is too early to predict anything, and it seems as though we are living inside a thriller movie that has twists at every turn, forcing everyone to sit on the edge of their chairs with continuous anxiety. This anxiety has led to deterioration in mental health for many. The world has grappled and is still dealing with a sharp rise in mental health care demand, making this a major issue of the pandemic years. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Hence, in this article, I would like to shine a light on how mental health management has emerged as the key challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic and how new technology innovations are aiding as tools to tackle this frontier.