Depression is gradually becoming a very common mental illness that can become dangerous, if left untreated. The only challenge in treating cases of depression, which is increasing in each and every country, is that people are still afraid to talk about it openly.
In March this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ speech advised people to come out and speak about their battle with depression.
“I want to tell my countrymen that depression is not incurable. There is a need to create a psychologically conducive environment to begin with. The first mantra is the expression of depression instead of its suppression,” he said.
Struggle with depression and stress in the start-up world is common because of the huge pressure on budding entrepreneurs to succeed.
Woebot chat bot launched by Woebot Labs is reaching out to people suffering from depression to help them by means of therapeutic conversation infused with a sense of humour. The chatbot is built using a combination of natural language processing, therapeutic expertise and excellent writing and backed by scientific research.
A recent study, conducted at Stanford University using Woebot chatbot, showed significant reductions in anxiety and depression levels among students aged between 18 and 28 years. 85% of participants used Woebot on a daily basis.
What is Woebot
Woebot is an automated conversational agent (chatbot), which helps users monitor their moods and learn about themselves. Based on a therapeutic framework known as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Woebot asks people how they’re feeling and what is going on in their lives in the format of brief daily conversations. It also enquires about your mental health and wellness. It sends videos and other useful tools depending on the user mood and the need at that moment.
The bot uses Facebook’s Messenger app to conduct therapeutic conversations, but this doesn’t leave any public impression on the user’s profile or newsfeed.
Here’s a look at a few other mental-health focused chatbots that are giving online chat-based therapy to tackle depression:
Wysa from Touchkin is an ‘emotionally intelligent’ chatbot that tracks, manages mood and gives proactive, personalized behavioral health support over phone. The AI-driven bot reacts to emotions and uses evidence-based cognitive-behavioral techniques (CBT) and micro-actions to help the user feel better. With time, it gets better context on how the user is doing and proactively reaches out to help. Bengaluru-based start-up Touchkin uses AI and machine learning to provide personalized care solutions.
Joy, a Facebook Messenger chatbot gets insight into users’ mood patterns and improves mental health. The bot checks in with a user once a day and asks how he/she is doing and what he/she did today. Based on their responses, it can interpret emotions and offer tips to feel make those seeking assistance happier or less anxious.