Can a chatbot help my mental health?
Our recent digital drop-in focused on a discussion of Chatbot Apps. Chatbots are software programs designed to act like a conversation with a human. As technology advances, chatbots are becoming a more common part of everyday life. You may have already met a few “famous” chatbots, like Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri. Chatbots are also being used more and more in domains like customer service; many banks, for example, use chatbots to guide consumers through navigating their finances.
We are also seeing more chatbots in mental health care settings. Chatbots can guide users through activities to support their mental health and wellness, can teach skills to help people self-manage their own conditions, and can provide a supportive presence for people and a way to engage in conversation, which can have benefits even if it’s not with a human. There is emerging evidence that chatbots can be an effective way to support those experiencing mental health challenges such as depression.
There are a number of apps that use chatbots to help support users in managing and improving their mental health and wellness. Below, we highlight some chatbot apps we have reviewed on the One Mind PsyberGuide App Guide.
- Woebot is a chatbot that guides people through activities based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and mindfulness meditation, to help users work through how they are feeling and manage distressing thoughts and feelings. (More about this one below!)
- Wysa is designed to help people with a variety of issues, including depression, anxiety, sleep, issues facing the LGBTQ+ community, and more. Wysa guides users through exercises based on principles of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), mindfulness meditation, and motivational interviewing.
- Replika helps users create a digital journal through chatting with a chatbot. The app learns and develops a personality based on the user’s input. Replika includes exercises with mood tracking and self-monitoring, psychoeducation about mood and coping skills, and goal setting.
- Youper also uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as well as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and mindfulness to help users improve their mood and sleep, and reduce their symptoms of anxiety, stress, and depression.
- Yana is a Spanish-language chatbot app which helps people with their mental health. Tools include a gratitude diary, behavior activation through suggested activities, a mood tracker, and more. A review of this app from our app review team is coming soon, and we’re excited to see more apps like this being developed for non-English speakers.
We were thrilled to have Dr. Athena Robinson, Chief Clinical Officer of Woebot Health, join us for our drop-in. Below, Dr. Robinson shares more about Woebot and how it can help people with their mental health and wellness.
What is Woebot and how can it help? — Dr. Athena Robinson
We live in a world where mental illness affects millions of people globally, burdening individuals and societies and shortening lives. Traditional treatments can’t scale to meet the soaring global demand for care, which is why Woebot Health is developing and delivering relational technologies and tools to support mental health for millions, and for a lifetime. The company offers Woebot, a clinically validated “coach for life’s ups and downs” designed by Stanford trained psychologists and researchers. Available via a smartphone app downloadable on the App Store and Google Play, Woebot invites people to check in, helps them identify their mood and nudges them to practice proven therapeutic techniques that can help them feel better. Woebot is the relational agent at the heart of the company’s AI-powered platform, the foundation for the discovery, development and delivery of digital therapeutics and tools that integrate within health ecosystems and solve for gaps along the health care journey. Woebot’s clinical effectiveness has been demonstrated in several studies and publications, notably in a controlled study that showed using Woebot led to significant reductions in anxiety and depression among people aged 18-28 years old. The company’s latest observational study found that Woebot can establish a therapeutic bond with users — a construct long thought to be unique to the domain of human-to-human interactions.
Woebot’s personal effectiveness is demonstrated in one user, Brian’s, story. Like many, Brian experienced anxiety during the global pandemic and started to explore better ways to manage his mental health. After trying multiple options, he found success with Woebot. Learn more about Brian’s story here.
To view the full discussion at our drop in, you can view the recording [here]. If you’re interested in joining the conversation on digital mental health, we’d love for you to join us! See all of our upcoming events here.