As AI Turns Therapist, What Does Technology Mean For Our Mental Health?

Technology gets an unfortunate press when it comes to our mental well-being. We are constantly flooded with arguments suggesting that tech is not only reducing our attention spans, but also could be playing havoc with our serotonin levels. Even worse, there have been experts who have labeled the introduction and rapid advancement of ChatGPT and its contemporaries as the very end of humanity as we know it.

As it was revealed last week that a new AI-driven mental health chatbot, Earkick is now offering a mental health service aimed at targeting anxiety and depression, we ask: what does technology mean for our mental health? 

It’s by no means all doom and gloom. The technological apocalypse is not upon us. There are lots of positives out there when it comes to our mental well-being and the march of tech. 

Firstly, as you will likely know, tech does have its achievements in allowing us all to have that coveted little bit of me time. Thrusting off the shackles of work and responsibility, me time benefits align with the principles of self-determination theory. In short, this theory – touted by Ryan & Deci since the dawn of the new millennium – emphasizes the importance of autonomy and competence in fostering psychological well-being. 

You see, taking time for yourself fulfills the need for autonomy by allowing individuals to make choices that are aligned with their personal values and desires, enhancing a sense of control over one’s life. But on top of this, research on mindfulness and solitude suggests that periods of introspection and relaxation also contribute to improved emotional regulation and reduced stress levels.

Now, we know how and why taking time out for yourself is highly beneficial. But where exactly does technology fit in? One prevalent – and potentially all-too-obvious avenue, although it’s still definitely worth a mention – is through iGaming. 

Buzzing, colorful virtual worlds just hit differently: they offer us an escape from reality with a chance to engage in thrilling adventures or become immersed in an action-packed online casinos with cool bonuses, low deposits and the chance to win big. And, according to gambling expert, Vlad Grindu, online offshore casinos are becoming one of the most popular ways for many of us to spend our downtime (source: With over 1.5 billion gamblers across the globe, however, this isn’t so unsurprising. 

And VR is something that’s being increasingly introduced in both traditional gaming and gambling, and it’s set to continue to open up new worlds of possibilities. Imagine, for example, being transported to brand new environments to explore new worlds and interact with virtual objects.

Aside from me time, social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook offer opportunities for self-expression and connection with friends and family just about any time by allowing users to share moments from their lives and engage in meaningful conversations. Okay, social media does, quite obviously, have its shortcomings, but those users who are disciplined in avoiding doom scrolling, can find meaningful action in spending a little bit of time catching up with friends and family from across the world. 

Mental health applications offer convenience and accessibility, available anytime and anywhere. They serve as valuable resources for individuals facing barriers to other forms of support, with many incorporating measures to ensure privacy and security. 

There’s a huge range of mental health apps that already exist and cater to various needs including stress relief, mood tracking, and cognitive engagement. For instance, meditation apps provide exercises to enhance breathing, promote relaxation, and facilitate better sleep. As of 2021, there were between 10,000 and 20,000 apps targeted towards mental health betterment, which brings us to another important point: lockdown and the rise of mental health ailments.

While it might feel like it was a lifetime ago, it’s important to remember that COVID-19 impacted us all to some degree, both hard and fast. One day early 2020, we were living our lives as normally as possible (given there were heavy rumors about measures in the pursuit of public safety) and the next, the world stopped.  

No longer were we able to see our friends and family, pop to the shops, or even go to work. Our homes, for many of us, turned into our very own prisons. 

In those uncertain times, technology allowed us to access the outside world. 

It put us in touch with nonagenarian relatives who were using Skype for the very first time. Video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet enabled remote work, allowing employees to collaborate effectively from home and feel at least some semblance of normalcy. Remote fitness meant that apps and online workout classes were working overtime to help us to stay active and maintain our physical health while gyms and fitness centers were some of the last businesses to reopen. Teletherapy platforms offered counseling and mental health support remotely by addressing the psychological impact of isolation and increasing uncertainty.

We danced with friends virtually, we indulged in online liquid lunches, we ordered too many toilet rolls. On a micro level, these were just some of the things that helped to keep us mentally safe and sane in an insane world. And it was all there thanks to technology. If technology allowed us to safely navigate the single biggest pandemic in over a century, what’s it got in store for us in the near future? It’s something that science is eager to address and help put its stamp on.  

Take positive technology, for example. Not often two words you hear band together, its aim is to prove tech’s role in advancing human welfare. At its very core, positive technology deals in scientific and practical approaches to adopting technological tools to enhance the overall human experience. Rooted in the principles of positive psychology (which examines the various facets of human flourishing across biological, individual, social, organizational, cultural, and global spheres) this paradigm changer emphasizes the pursuit of holistic well-being through technological innovation. It does this by rethinking design, with the aim of promoting wellness and nurturing human capabilities. But central to this psychological school of thought is the acknowledgment of the multifaceted, subjective, and context-dependent nature of user experiences. 

What the science produces, however, is a little more what we are used to. One key aspect lies in leveraging technology to promote mindfulness and stress reduction. Mobile apps and, more commonly, wearable devices equipped with biofeedback sensors enable users to carefully monitor and manage their stress levels in real time, fostering greater self-awareness and emotional regulation. 

Moreover, positive computing facilitates the cultivation of positive emotions and behaviors. Virtual reality experiences, as previously mentioned, offer immersive environments that can now be used for practicing gratitude, empathy, and kindness, thereby fostering a more positive outlook on life. Mindfulness on a stunning, albeit virtual beach, anyone?

Furthermore, artificial intelligence algorithms are being developed to deliver personalized interventions tailored to individuals’ specific needs and preferences. These interventions range from mood tracking and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) exercises to virtual coaching and even digital companionship.

So, while it’s potentially questionable and perhaps even ethically unsound that AI should be playing therapist in 2024, we are seeing the increase in technology attempting to promote mental wellbeing. And, as for the future, as psychology is being integrated and this leading to tighter regulations, what we will hopefully begin to see is more and more excessive services, applications and wearables that allow us to help ourselves as much as them helping us. 

In the meantime, why not get researching so you, too, can really harness the benefits of technology on your mental heatlh? 

Editorial Team

Passionate news enthusiast with a flair for words. Our Editorial Team author brings you the latest updates, in-depth analysis, and engaging stories. Stay informed with their well-researched articles.

Related Articles

This will close in 5 seconds