Researchers have created a new APP called Woebot, that has been shown to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety twice as fast as traditional therapies.
The APP which is available through Facebook Messenger, uses AI technology to create conversations to offer support to users.
Created by Stanford psychologists Woebot uses daily chat conversations, curated videos, mood tracking and word games to help people manage their mental health.
This personalised chatbot can be purchased at $39 a month and is reaching out to people who maybe can't afford therapy sessions, and gives them tool to be able to speak about their emotional responses to real-life situations.
Woebot is not designed to replace doctors, but interestingly in clinical trials participants who thought they were talking to a robot tended to open up more. The chatbot is seen as a “gateway therapy,” to give people a good first experience and help people who are unwell either seek further support and avoid mental health crises.
It all sounds incredibly futuristic and if I'm honest a bit inhuman, however Woebot has about 150 long-term beta users who say they like the convenience of checking in with the chatbot quickly on Facebook, and for some people an intangible listener may be just what they need at that particular time.