Stories

SaveSave story

There's now a self-help Facebook Messenger chatbot

If you're feeling down, a new chatbot could help. Woebot, which is integrated into Facebook Messenger and launched today, will deliver therapy by periodically checking in on users, asking them how they feel and making suggestions — for relaxing music or not talking negatively about themselves — based on their responses.

The artificially intelligent chatbot can deliver personalized mental health care that makes people feel measurably better, according to a new study. "It's a nice, elegant, simple application that shows a glimmer of what might be to come," says Skip Rizzo, psychologist, University of Southern California.

Why it's needed: Access to therapy can be limited for some (both physically and financially) and stigma around mental health care persists. Woebot, along with apps and other tech-based tools, attempts to deliver therapy but its effectiveness hasn't been clinically studied.