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Talking to a therapist through Alexa could make mental health care more accessible

Starting this summer, you’ll be able to talk to a therapist through Amazon Alexa. For the many people who struggle with anxiety and depression, it’s a huge challenge to find an affordable therapist. Now, a growing group of apps, including Talkspace and The Difference, are looking to solve the problem by using technology to improve access.

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“Digital mental health” involves using smartphones, the web, and even Amazon Alexa for consults. But some question whether the virtual approach is it right for every patient, particularly those with more serious mental health conditions.

Mental health professionals told CNBC that these apps are helpful for managing surface-level problems, but that the scientific research is inconclusive on whether they can replace in-person visits.