|Chatbots can offer mood reports and tips on how to improve their mental and emotional state / Credits: sdecoret via Shutterstock|
The World Health Organization reported that 1 in 4 people suffer some kind of mental health problem. Aside from medications and a strong support system, an unlikely technology can help people to cope: chatbots.
Chatbots are known for helping businesses improve user experience and personalizing the products and services they offer. But, these devices have more to offer. Chatbots are now entering the digital mental health landscape, offering support and comfort to people struggling with their mental health. One of these chatbots is Vivibot offered through GRYT, an app-based social community for people affected by cancer.
Alexa Jett, 28, is one of those people who have relied on a mental health chatbot to cope. She remembered completely shutting down from the world after her best friend and former boyfriend died of cancer at the age of 33. In desperation, she sought help online. This is where she found Vivibot. Jett stated that the chatbot has a "funny and friendly personality.” With its presence, Jett was encouraged to get more tasks accomplished. "She pulled me out of that really dark place and I started functioning again," she said.
Aside from Vivibot, there are other chatbots that offer the same support. According to BBC, an operational business division of the British Broadcasting Corporation responsible for the gathering and broadcasting of news and current affairs, they offer mood reports and tips on how to improve their mental and emotional state."These chatbots are a great first step for people who may be experiencing sad or depressed mood or anxiety to reclaim their mental health,” Danielle Ramo, director of research at Hopelab, said.
Aside from chatbots, social media giants like Facebook are entering the arena of digital mental health. For instance, Facebook and Messenger launched the Let's Talk Stories filter and a series of Let's Talk Messenger stickers last October 2019. These tools encourage people to begin conversations leading to support.