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5 Mental Health Trends to Watch Out for in 2022

There are many things happening in the mental health space as we enter 2022. From artificial intelligence to blood tests for mental health and psychedelic research, a number of the developments still in the early stages are exciting and could offer significant changes. 

Mental health has received more attention than before since the pandemic and all the associated mental health problems. Innovative thinkers are stepping up to the challenges. 

1. Use of artificial intelligence (AI) in clinical settings

AI technological advancements could help improve mental health diagnoses. For example, sensors could detect symptoms of anxiety such as nail-biting, hand tapping, or knuckle cracking. AI could also help therapists to train by evaluating their skills and whether they are able to create an optimal environment for a client. 

AI technology can help in certain ways like this but it is highly unlikely to replace therapy with a human therapist. Interactive Counselling has many professional counsellors who offer various kinds of therapy on the phone, online and in person. 

2. Blood tests for mental health

A breakthrough study by researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine suggested that there are biological markers for mood disorders like depression. A blood test can determine the risk of developing depression and determine its severity. 

Blood tests for mental health conditions are still in the early development stage but studies like this one could improve the diagnosis of mental health conditions. Mental illnesses are complex and blood tests would remain an adjunctive to traditional diagnostic tools due to the psychological, sociocultural and biological etiologies. 

3. Trauma-informed care

More than half of all adults experience some form of trauma in their lives, whether this is the loss of a loved one, rape, domestic violence or divorce. Educators, clinicians, health care practitioners and mental health professionals are emphasizing trauma-informed care and the need for a more holistic approach to healing. 

In some cases, trauma-informed care can have hyperfocus on the trauma. Rather than focusing exclusively on the trauma, health professionals should try to identify a person’s strengths to treat them and help them to heal. 

4. Psychedelic research developments

Psychedelics have been used for centuries, predominantly by indigenous cultures for ceremonies, religious and medical purposes. Recent research into psychoactive substances such as MDMA and psilocybin suggests that they can be useful in helping to treat some mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Psychedelics are still illegal in many countries such as the United States but policies and laws are slowly easing towards them. 

The growing demands of research recently resulted in the Drug Enforcement Administration authorizing an increase in production. Emerging research is showing the potential of combining therapy with ingesting psychedelics. 

There is hope that a new generation of drugs may help to treat antidepressant-resistant depression. Patients with disorders like PTSD could use safe, effective and innovative drugs in conjunction with therapy to get the best results. 

5. Telehealth services keep expanding

Digital care options saw an explosion thanks to the need for social isolating and the effects of the pandemic. Many mental health professionals now have the expertise and confidence to conduct telehealth services effectively. This could give older adults and rural communities more opportunities to access mental health treatment. 

Mental health patients with transportation challenges, physical disabilities, or the immune-compromised could all benefit from access to telehealth mental health services. Online services can also circumvent the stigma of making a decision to get treatment for a mental health condition. The public and private health sectors in a number of countries have already developed online mental health support services.