Development process of artificial intelligence based chatbot to support and promote mental wellbeing in sparsely populated areas of five European countries

Lauri Kuosmanen, Anna-Kaisa Vartiainen, Heidi Nieminen, Catrine Kostenius, RR Bond, Maurice Mulvenna, Courtney Potts, Edel Ennis, Martin Malcolm, Alex Vakaloudis, Brian Cahill, Indika S. A. Dhanapala

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Especially in sparsely populated areas of Europe, people face many problems regarding access to care, 24/7 support and evidence-based support. Digital mental health interventions and services, such as chatbots, can be one option to tackle these challenges. There is a lack of guidelines, toolkits, and research regarding how mental health chatbots are developed and how to ensure that there is a close collaboration between mental health and digital technology experts and potential users.

Objectives: The aim of this presentation is to describe the phases of the development for the ChatPal mental health and wellbeing chatbot.

Methods: Development process was conducted in five countries (Finland, Sweden, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Ireland) and with four different languages. First, using an electronic survey for mental health professionals (n =190) we screened how familiar they are with chatbots and how they evaluated their potential. Second, university students and staff, mental health professionals and mental health service users (n=78) participated in workshops to design and innovate the chatbot content. Finally, the content and scripts of chatbot were written in multi-professional and multi-national collaboration.

Results: ChatPal is based on the PERMAH model of positive psychology and on the idea that we all have mental health which needs boosting and support from time to time. ChatPal includes relevant mental health information, exercises, mood diaries and simple monitoring and self-care tools. Based on preliminary evaluations, the ChatPal chatbot offers an option to offer support in areas where other mental health services are lacking or are insufficient.

Conclusions: ChatPal is already freely available in application stores and first scientific trials are starting in October 2021. Preliminary results of 4-week and subsequent 12-week in-the-wild trials will be in place at the time of EPA 2022 conference.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jun 2022
Event30th European Congress of Psychiatry -
Duration: 4 Jun 20227 Jun 2022

Conference

Conference30th European Congress of Psychiatry
Period4/06/227/06/22

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