Can a Machine Diagnose Someone as Suicidal?

Researchers just answered the question, “Can AI (artificial intelligence) diagnose suicidal behavior?” The results of their study are below. They were first published in the journal, Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior. - Artificial Intelligence Diagnosing Suicidal Risk

The data showed that yes, AI can diagnose suicidal tendencies. The study’s authors imagined a computer console, special robot, or even a mobile app.

Diagnosing Suicidal Tendencies With Technology

Here’s how the scientists conducted their analysis.

First, the participants were divided into three groups:

  • people already diagnosed with suicidal behavior
  • others who were mentally ill, but not suicidal
  • and those who were neither

The volunteers were asked a series of questions. Their answers helped determine how at risk they were for suicidal acts.

Experts started with basic introductory queries like, “How are you today?” Eventually, the interviews proceeded to the more serious, “Do you fear for your life?”

Those responses were plugged into an algorithm and computed. Finally, the computer labeled the members with mental health diagnoses.

Can Computers Really Replace Psychologists?

On average, the computer diagnosed correctly 85% of the time. Of those who were already diagnosed as suicidal, the computer was a whopping 95% accurate. - Suicidal Thoughts, National Lifeline

Applying the Study Results

Researchers hope that someone will use their findings to develop a program that helps children or young adults. Teens are especially at risk for suicide, but mental health resources for schools and youth clubs are scarce.

In light of the fact that the younger demographic is at ease with tech, students may be more likely to complete an honest interview with a device. Kids with mental health issues who otherwise would not speak up could be identified. The end result could be preventing suicides.

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