Mental well-being is not a norm yet in Pakistan as compared to western societies. We are in middle of spreading awareness and getting help. But it’s a slow progress to what should be. Stigma and old traditions still prevail over us and prevent us from taking true care of our mental health.
A team from Stanford university has developed a chat bot to help people with coping strategies. Although it does not diagnose or treat you or can replace a psychologist/ psychiatric help but it can help you with a boost up. The Software is available in Pakistan for help as well. It works with the original version of Facebook messenger (excluding messenger lite) and is also available as an free app that doesn’t require a Facebook account or log in.
So, how does it work?
All you have to do is search for <strong>WOEBOT</strong> on messenger and send a Hiya! (or hi/hello). The software helps people through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s a psychological approach that teach people skills (coping strategies) to help themselves.
For starters there will be few customized answers in form of buttons, click them accordingly. The robot introduce itself and sends you link a of study that has scientifically proven CBT helpful.
The software protects privacy and the conversation is said to be encrypted and yes it is not equivalent to clinical help at all!!
After the self introduction and chit chat the software informs of the proceeding. Daily for first few week(s) the software will note your mood and figure out a pattern. You can schedule your conversation as well or reach out whenever.
After asking the basic information such as your age and gender the chat sends a video, further you can continue the chat or end it as per your wish on video and come back tomorrow again.
People prefer talking to robot intelligence as it is easier, less awkward and only limited judgement is made. It is more of a task than a chore (as people call the therapy). Although, it might hinder the conversation panel among two people but something is better than nothing. Share the information with people who think might be in need without being too obvious and direct.