We would have never imagined the role that chatbots can play in our lives 10 years ago. But today chatbots are unavoidable. From providing customer support to handling sales funnels on e-commerce websites to talking to your favorite cartoon characters, and also solving some of the mysterious crime scenes in the world, chatbots everywhere are used to provide round-the-clock service to customers in several industries.
Along with product and service-based industries, chatbots have started to gain huge popularity in mental health assistance. Chatbots that provide remote support for mental health are now available in all forms, whether on the web, your favorite social media platform, a mobile app, or even via text messages.
This blog highlights how mental health chatbots and social robots can prove to be effective against depression, anxiety, and many other mental illnesses health challenges.
- Easily Accessible
Mental health challenges are like guests arriving in your house without any prior notice. They do not knock at your door and enter without your knowing. They come naturally unannounced and cause disruption. Due to their unpredictable nature, mental health challenges such as depressed moods, anxiety, and more can require assistance at any and all times. Moreover, in times when we are stranded at home fighting with a global pandemic like COVID-19, our mental health issues are bound to worsen due to a catastrophic outlook and the challenges in reaching out to a mental health professional for seeking assistance.
To find a solution for these circumstances, it is extremely important that support is available to the ones who need it 24*7/365. Mental health chatbots ensure round-the-clock support to the ones who need it at a time when they need it the most. All you need for accessing them is a desktop, tablet, or mobile device complemented with a working internet connection.
- Freedom from the feeling of being judged
Social stigma around mental health is quite common. People can easily communicate about their deteriorating physical health but the same is not the case for mental health, as it is easy to believe that they are over exaggerating symptoms without physical symptoms or misunderstand them and believe they are “crazy.” In a society where mental illnesses do not get the same recognition as physical illnesses, people often hesitate to reach out to counselors and therapists due to the stigma around mental health or the feelings of guilt, fear, or shame.
The fear of reaching out for support is quite common among patients suffering from mental illnesses. This is alleviated by using social robots in the mental health space. Chatbots can give you the most human-like comfort while you are seeking help. They can provide emotional companionship by listening to you, providing CBT, talking with you, playing guided meditations, and many other things, and all of these things can be done in private from your own devices so that you can keep it as confidential as you feel comfortable with.
- Provides temporary support
We all aware of the fact that our mental illness support system is extremely overburdened. The gap between patients seeking support and professionals is increasing with every passing day. Along with this, our lives seem to become ever busier, and reaching out for support has become extremely complicated. Attending counseling appointments regularly could mean frequent days off from your work, commute from your home and office to your counseling sessions, finding time in the therapist’s schedule which suits your schedule, all just for a 50 minute time to talk with them.
On the other hand, AI (Artificial Intelligence) based chatbots provide you with temporary relief whenever you need support or even emergency support to cure your current situation. If things get worse and out of control they are enabled with an alert system where your counselors get an immediate alert about you and your concerns can be addressed in case of an emergency. They can prove to be the best support system, designed for use as and when you require support.
- No pricey commitments
With therapists and counselors, the pressure always lies on you to make it to an appointment and participate in it wholeheartedly. Circumstances may arise that you need support before or after the session, or you don’t have time to make it to an appointment, and finally, it may be difficult to interact with them with constant emails, reminders, and phone calls coming from their side. There are chances that you may be occupied with something particularly important when they try to communicate with you, and therefore cannot be able to commit.
Contrary to this, mental health chatbots provide easy access to support with no commitments to attend. If you are not ready to talk to or comfortable talking with the chatbot due to any particular reason, you are not obligated to do so. The chatbot will be available for support always at your discretion. They are just like TV remotes; they give you the power to switch on and switch off the device at your convenience whenever the need arises to do so. You don’t really need to explain why you’re unavailable, you can just walk out whenever you want.
While interacting with therapists, many people have expressed concerns about privacy and confidentiality. People seeking help for their mental health have expressed deep concerns about the obstacles preventing them from getting support. AI-powered chatbots provide people with the ability to receive mental health services in the comfort of their homes. This eliminates the possibility of bumping into someone they know while going to attend an appointment or others knowing that you are receiving care for your mental health.
Many of these topics revolve around personal hurt, fear, and painful physical or mental experiences. For several patients discussing the information anonymously through a screen with an AI-powered chatbot appears to be more convenient than anything else. The convenience, confidentiality, and privacy provided by these AI-powered apps make it provide strong relief to patients.
AI-powered chatbots can truly disrupt the way we ask for support in mental health. With their features of accessibility, confidentiality, and freedom of providing choice to the user they can prove to be a great resource for mental health professionals as well as patients.
Are you looking for an emotional companion who can listen to your anxieties, genuinely understand all that you are struggling with, and provides round-the-clock support to you for your mental health? Then, try MARCo Online, your emotional support companion. With MARCo – the Mental-health Assisting Robot Companion – you get all the benefits of a mental health chatbot in a fun and convenient online form or a plush physical robot form as well.