Robotics the future of mental health care?

Mental illness is one of the most prevalent health issues affecting the Australian population. According to the Black Dog Institute and Dementia Australia around 20% of the population will suffer a mental illness in any given year, with 45% of Australians suffering a mental illness at one point in their life, and an estimated 91,000 people, and rising, will be diagnosed with a form of dementia per year. Australia’s health system currently struggles to cope with the demand for mental health services for those affected by mental illness with many sufferers, especially in regional areas, struggling to access the essential health services they require.  

Could social or therapeutic robotics play a part in aiding and relieving some of the strain on mental health services? How viable is it? What would that look like? What are the benefits? How soon could this become a reality? Are robots currently being used in this way? Is it ethical? Could there be a social cost to using robots in a therapeutic manner? I would like to find…

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