Hit by a crisis, the healthcare sector had to quickly find new ways of safely providing quality care to patients. For some, the solution was going digital, while the other mental healthcare sectors are still struggling to adapt to the changing reality. Fortunately, the rise of chatbots was a sigh of relief for the mental healthcare sector. You may be wondering how emotionless chatbots can be of any help to the patients! You are not alone, being a psychologist – I had this thought too. Nevertheless, AI-powered chatbots are indeed transforming the mental healthcare sector in ways they can.
Today, tech companies across the globe are combining the power of AI to create chatbots to help patients with mental health concerns. They are in fact supporting patients while offering a high level of privacy and anonymity – which is otherwise questionable in in-person therapies. However, you should be careful with the chatbot you choose and put your trust in. With so many mental health chatbots out there, not all of them are created under the supervision of mental healthcare experts. So, choose the chatbots with utmost care and caution. Because a poorly built chatbot can cause irreparable damage. In an effort to prevent this, I am outlining 3 great mental healthcare chatbots that are offering exceptional mental healthcare and transforming the mental healthcare sector for the good.
3 Greats chatbots that are transforming the mental health care sector
Woebot is a smart AI-powered chatbot that specializes in monitoring the patient’s moods from time to time. And it uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to treat the patients. How does it do that? It does that by creating a space for patients to express their thoughts and help them to identify and change destructive negative thought patterns into positive ones. Not just that, Woebot shares relevant videos, information, and even provides tool suggestions depending on the user’s responses.
Developers created this chatbot by applying the principles of Natural Language Processing principles – under the supervision of mental healthcare experts and therapists. As a result, this AI-powered chatbot is capable of having a heart-to-heart chat with its users on a daily basis, thereby striving towards creating a positive therapeutic experience for the patients in need of attention, validation, and care. This AI-driven chatbot is available on both Android and iOS devices and is free for the first two weeks – after which you will have to pay a registration fee of $39 in case you wish to continue.
What’s the proof that it does what it claims to do?
To study how efficient Woebot is, Stanford University conducted a 2-week period study. In this study, 70 students belonging to the age group of 18-28 were asked to have nearly 20 sessions with Woebot. While few other participants belonged to the information-only control group with no access to Woebot. Curious to know what happened next? Here’s what happened – 85% of participants who used Woebot on almost a daily basis reported that their feelings of anxiety and depression reduced to a great extent.
That being said, the long-term effects of the usage of Woebot still remain a grey area and require further research for sure.
Here’s the best part…
Woebot’s clinical and development team comprises all the big names – who are highly respected in the field of healthcare and technology. Dr. Alison Darcy, Ph.D., who has nearly 15 years of experience in healthcare is the founder and CEO psychologist and healthcare designer of Woebot. And this team also compromises of other 4 great people: Chief Clinical Officer – Athena Robinson, Ph.D., and Laurel Hart, a specialist in natural language processing (NLP). Followed by Joseph Doyle, Head of Engineering, and Colin Parsons, Lead Mobile Engineer. – who takes care of all the technical side of this mental health chatbot.
Wysa is yet another great AI-powered, emotionally intelligent chatbot that’s transforming the mental healthcare sector. This chatbot aims to help people manage their thoughts and emotions effectively via a combination of various tools, techniques, and therapies. For instance, it uses Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Evidence-Based Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), guided meditation, and even yoga. In other words, it takes a holistic approach to treat patients and improve their mental, physical, and emotional well-being.
Who developed this chatbot?
Touchkin company was the one to develop the Wysa chatbot. And initially, they used Facebook messenger as the user interface – same as Woebot. It’s available on Android and iOS devices. Though it’s a free app, you can avail its premium features only if you register for $29.99. What’s the premium feature you ask? With this feature, you can access a human coach who can support and guide you to achieve your mental health goals. Put simply, he/she will be your mental wellness coach with whom you can interact and engage.
However, to be able to use this app – you should be 18 years and above.
And the Wysa advisory board comprises Dr. Becky Inkster, a neuroscientist at Cambridge University. And they claim to have certified social work experts/researchers, mental and health advocates, medical specialists, entrepreneurs, and engineers.
Today, Wysa is available in 30 countries. And among them all – India, the UK, and the US are its top adopters.
Youper built an AI chatbot that aims to monitor and improve people’s emotional health via quick and personalized conversations. Also, it uses Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and mindfulness techniques. Recently, Health.com. awarded Youper as the best app for helping people cope with COVID-19.
Along with tracking people’s moods, monitoring mental health symptoms constantly – it even offers meditation instructions to help improve their overall well-being. The company claims that, as it continues to learn more about its users, it has the ability to fine-tune the overall user experience to better fit its users’ needs.
There is no doubt, mental health chatbots are indeed transforming the mental healthcare sector. But the question is which are those chatbots? Hope the above list gives you a certain idea of what some of these chatbots can do and how they can help people improve their mental health. But remember, not all chatbots do what they claim to do. Be careful about which AI-driven chatbot you place your trust in.
All said and done, in-person therapies are always the best. There is nothing like a therapist/counselor/psychologist treating and taking care of their patients in person. However, with the ratio of psychologists and patients being at 1:10,000 – these AI-driven chatbots are indeed a great catch as they are at least supporting the mental healthcare experts on the front line – helping them draw accurate diagnosis to some extent, delivering timely responses in terms of engaging and interacting with the patients and alerting the experts when need be.