On December 7, WHO/Europe staged a 1-day hybrid meeting to focus on innovations around big data analytics (as well as AI) towards the field of mental health. This meeting is constructed as an opportunity to engage health policy-makers on how these tools can better allocate resources and better predict mental health conditions for populations.
The event has assembled professionals working in mental health data and health environment systems and on policy-making. The goal of the meeting is to explore the improvement of existing mental health data through emerging big data analytics and artificial intelligence-powered tools, providing a forum to exchange ideas and various experiences on implementing such tools within decision-making.
AI-assisted Mental Health Reform
The mental health and well-being of the WHO European region have been extremely strained by several large-scale public health emergencies over the last few years. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the cost-of-living crisis, mental health services have attempted to adapt to increased demand, remaining deprioritized, under-resourced and hitting roadblocks in helping many to get the help they desperately need.
AI and big data analytics are novel tools in the planning of mental health services, as well as in identifying and monitoring mental health problems in individuals and populations. AI-driven tools can harness readily available, real-time data – such as data generated through social media and electronic health records – to enable the planning and allocating of resources for mental health services. It would also identify and prevent misinformation related to public health concerns, develop targeted communications to promote behaviour change and predict and intervene in early mental illness cases.
Participants will be able to openly discuss case studies across member states on data use from social media and electronic health records for planning mental health services and how it all plays into the future.
European Programme of Work
Digital and mental health are 2 of 4 flagships under the European Programme of Work 2020-2025, acting as accelerators of change to increase focus on critical issues transformative to health.
Back in September. WHO/Europe presented their action plan on digital health that was widely endorsed by Member States. The Pan-European Mental Health Coalition, launched in 2021 by WHO/Europe, brings influential stakeholders together to increase investment in mental health and works with individuals and communities to ease social attitudes around mental health.