Inside Asia Podcast

Are We Facing a Global Mental Health Crisis? (w/ Anurag Banerjee)

October 11, 2021

My guest this week is Anurag Banerjee. He’s sounding the alarm on mental well-being. Anurag isn’t a medical professional, a healthcare expert, or a policy-maker. He’s a miner…of data, that is. And through the organization he founded and runs, he’s excavating insights that point to leading trends and developments in human behavior. 

He describes his organization, Quilt AI, as a mission-first technology company that’s looking to reverse fractures in society and generate empathy. From time-to-time, his team of analysts and data scientists point their lens at issues worthy of global attention. Mental health is one such subject. And on this World Mental Health Day, the data is revealing, if not somewhat disturbing.

Here’s the headliner: In the past 18 months – or since the onset of the global pandemic - there’s been a 500 percent worldwide increase in conversations about mental health and well-being. This comes from data collected by his firm from 177 cities across 70 countries. It’s an astounding jump and the analysis is only made possible through the use and application of artificial intelligence. 

The research raises a bevy of questions. Why the dramatic increase? What’s the root cause? What – exactly – is mental health? To be frank, the findings are inconclusive. And yet, the data is indicative of a problem brewing at a universal level. This is a vast subject with nuances as varied as the tens of millions of individuals now engaged and in search of mental health support. In the course of this 25-minute discussion, we try to unpack the problem, then ask: What can be done about it?

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