The Growing Influence of Robotics In Mental Health

Robotics and Their Growing Influence in Mental Health

In recent years, there has been an increasing use of robotics in health care. From DaVinci for surgery to robots like RP-Vita which allows remote doctor-to-patient consults, ensuring that the physician is in the right place along with immediate access to the necessary clinical information to take action. There are now hospitals and health centers with robots running around delivering medications, blood samples, meals, and linens. Robots now fill prescriptions at dispensaries and pharmacies and continually take on tasks that were once done by humans. It is obvious that the future of robotics and health-care are intertwined in a way and that will only increase with time.

Now the change seems to be coming to mental health. There is the obvious increase in mental health software that help with tele-therapy thanks to internet access and our always connected world. Then there are the more sophisticated tools like MIT’s MACH, (My Automated Conversation Coach), that lets you improve and develop your social skills privately, Paro, the robotic seal that can help with Dementia and NAO, a two-foot tall humanoid robot that has been shown to help kids diagnosed with Autism.

In mental healthcare for the elderly and young children, robot therapy is now a growing trend. Not only is it a growing trend, data seems to suggest that is producing results which only reinforces it uses and funding to expand the use.

These developments make it imperative for mental health professionals to stay on top of these new tools and approaches and requires that, at the minimum, they must make an effort to familiarize themselves with new therapies involving mental health and robotics.

First, they can help develop better treatment outcomes for clients which is the ultimate goal. Secondly as patients and end users are more familiar with these processes and procedures, thanks to 24-hour news, internet and social media, they will ask for your opinion on these devices and therapies and seek to know whether they can work for them and their loved ones. Ignorance will not be an option even if you don’t have a clear answer. As a mental health professional, you’ll need to be able to at least guide your clients in a good direction and be a knowledgeable source about these developments.

The coming trend is clear and inevitable. The only logical choice for you will be to stay on top of it. Remember, we now live in the age of the informed client and as they gather information from multiple sources, nothing will help your reputation and ability to have an impact better than to be seen as a reputable, trusted resource for your clients. You may even seek to make a concerted effort to inform them through your social media posts and blogs. This way, you become a resource that they can trust and even share with others.