Chatbot Therapy is a Thing

Got the blues? Feeling depressed or unloved or friendless? Never fear the “Woebot” is here to listen and offer answers to improve your state of mind and emotional well being. Woebot is the name of a downloadable therapist that will help you get through your day. You download it to begin a text-based, conversation/therapy session.

Founder and chief executive Alison Darcy

“Part of the value of Woebot is you can get things off your chest without worrying what the other person thinks, without that fear of judgment,” said Alison Darcy, founder and chief executive of Woebot Labs. “We wanted it to make an emotional connection.”

With the constant turmoil over the Affordable Care Act, and the changes it will continue to go through in Congress, it is clear that mental health, though covered in the standard medical services, is not a priority with this Congress or with the Trump Administration. Many people still cannot get access to treatment, as more than 106 million areas face a shortage of Mental-health-care professionals ,according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Here is where a platform that is convenient, easy-to-use and anonymous, might really be useful. Primarily, these chatbots are meant to give advice and offer some guidance and companionship. You address Woebot with your issue, and it will address you back. Some can be specialized with various apps in different languages. An app called “Karim” counsels Syrian refugee children; “Emma” helps Dutch speakers with mild anxiety; and an app called “Mindblown” allows users to support and motivate each other.

This is not to say these bots could or should replace traditional therapy, but at a price of $39 a month for Woebot, it might just be enough to make a bad day a little better.