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Empowering People Who Have JUST Been Harmed with AI-Integrated Emotional Wellness

by Mark D. Lerner, Ph.D.

Chairman, The National Center for Emotional Wellness

AI-Integrated Emotional Wellness (AIEW) refers to the broad interface of artificial intelligence's cognitive abilities and the complexity of human emotions. Acknowledging the irreplaceable importance of authentic, in-person communication, AIEW focuses on how artificial intelligence can foster emotional well-being.

While much has been written about what to do in the aftermath of a crisis (e.g., crisis intervention and debriefing), Acute Traumatic Stress Management (ATSM) is a traumatic stress response protocol developed to empower caregivers during a crisis. (Lerner and Shelton, 2001, 2005)

Understanding and incorporating ATSM's evidenced-based strategies, AIEW can learn to address raw emotion experienced during a crisis.

Chatbots and virtual therapists have demonstrated promise in helping users seeking urgent emotional support and guidance. Incorporating AIEW, this support can be provided ethically and responsibly. Ultimately, the efficacy of chatbots and virtual therapists in providing mental health support, particularly during the earliest phase of traumatic exposure, will rest on the platforms’ ability to emulate counselors and therapists.

Following are ten things users can do if they have just been harmed. In consultation with experts in emotional wellness, additional timely strategies should be incorporated into AI tools (e.g., chatbots):

1. Prioritize Immediate Safety: 

Take immediate action to ensure your safety. If there is an ongoing threat or potential danger, prioritize moving to a secure location as quickly and efficiently as possible. If needed, contact the appropriate authorities or emergency services for assistance.

2. Address Acute Medical Needs: 

It is imperative to address acute medical needs you may have promptly. Even if your injuries appear minor, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention to rule out any underlying issues. Moreover, documenting the incident through medical records can be valuable for future reference.

3. Report What Happened to the Authorities: 

Report the incident to the appropriate authorities to ensure appropriate action is taken. Contact your local law enforcement agency and file a formal complaint. Be sure to provide a comprehensive account of what transpired, supported by evidence such as text messages, photographs, videos, and more. It is crucial to remember that the decision to report lies with you.

4. Preserve Evidence: 

It is vital to preserve evidence linked to the incident in question. This may include medical records, mental health records, police reports, text messages, audio recordings, photographs, and more. This evidence will serve as valuable support should you seek justice for the harm inflicted upon you.

5. Document the Event: 

Immediately after an incident, it is important to document the event with as many details as possible. Write down a comprehensive account, including the date, time, location, individuals involved, and a thorough description of what transpired. Be as specific as possible, recounting any actions, words, or threats made by the perpetrator(s). This documentation will be immensely valuable when seeking legal assistance or addressing the event with authorities.

6. Turn to Family and Friends: 

The understanding and care of loved ones can be extremely valuable in providing emotional support and helping you navigate the challenges ahead. Remember that reaching out for help is a courageous step towards seeking justice and moving forward from the harm inflicted upon you. Keep in mind that we don't always think clearly during challenging experiences.

7. Seek Mental Health Support: 

Seeking professional mental health support is crucial when dealing with the long-lasting effects of abuse, harassment, discrimination, or injustice. Counselors, therapists, and support groups specializing in trauma can provide the necessary guidance and assistance in healing and processing the emotional aftermath. By engaging in mental health support services, individuals can navigate complex emotions within a safe environment and regain a sense of control over their lives.

8. Consult with a Legal Professional: 

Obtaining legal counsel from an attorney is essential for gaining valuable knowledge about your legal options and determining your case's best course of action. A skilled lawyer will be a trusted advisor, offering guidance throughout the legal proceedings and helping you navigate any challenges. Remember that attorneys are dedicated to providing counsel and advocating for your rights.

9. Keep Track of Expenses: 

Throughout your journey toward justice, it is vital to maintain diligent records of any expenses incurred as a direct result of the incident. This includes medical bills, therapy costs, legal fees, lost wages, and other related expenses. Accurate documentation will support your claims for restitution or compensation, ensuring you are not burdened by the financial aftermath of the injustice you endured.

10. Educate Yourself: 

Knowledge is power. Take the time to educate yourself on relevant laws, policies, and rights about the type of harm you have experienced. TruthJava provides detailed information concerning diverse experiences. Familiarize yourself with the resources available to victims, such as helplines, support organizations, and non-profit entities that can offer guidance, information, and assistance. Empower yourself with information and unleash the potential to effect change and prevent the recurrence of similar injustices. Finally, recognize that being harmed can shatter your sense of safety and well-being.

While much has been written about helping people in the aftermath of a crisis, there is a paucity of practical information to promote emotional wellness during a crisis. This article describes how the tenets of ATSM can be incorporated into AIEW strategies such as chatbots and virtual assistants.


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