Almanac: Mental Health Chatbots

Mental Health Chatbots

Welcome to my evolving collection of chatbots related to mental health, therapy, coaching and personal development. I’ve divided the list into two sections: the first part includes chatbots available for chat or purchase, and the second part features chatbots that aren’t available but may be interesting from a research and historical perspective.

I’m continuously working on making this a comprehensive and useful list, and I appreciate your feedback on how to enhance it to better meet your needs. If you know of a chatbot that should be added here, please let me know.

Table of Contents

What is a chatbot?

Chatbots are computer programs you can talk to and have a conversation with (chat), usually through textual interface.

There are many types of chatbots, and there are many synonyms in use, e.g. conversational artificial intelligence, intelligent dialogue systems, conversational assistants, virtual assistants, conversational agents, chatterbots…
Chatbots can be very different, just like animals: ELIZA is like a small bee, and ChatGPT is like a big polar bear.

ELIZA (1966)

Author: Joseph Weizenbaum

Chat: https://www.szymonjessa.com/eliza

The original ELIZA was created at MIT in the 1960s, and is referenced as the first chatbot ever. It simulates the communication style of a psychotherapist.

Weizenbaum, J. (1966). “ELIZA – A Computer Program For the Study of Natural Language Communication Between Man and Machine.” DOI: https://doi.org/10.1145/365153.365168. S2CID: https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/1896290.

Jabberwacky (1988)

Author: Rollo Carpenter

Chat: http://www.jabberwacky.com/

An open domain chatbot, including therapeutic conversations.

TESS (2016)

Authors: X2AI

Request demo: https://www.x2ai.com/individuals

Mental health chatbot.

Fulmer, R., Joerin, A., Gentile, B., Lakerink, L., & Rauws, M. (2018). Using Psychological Artificial Intelligence (Tess) to Relieve Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Mental Health, 5(4), e64. https://mental.jmir.org/2018/4/e64. DOI: 10.2196/mental.9782.

Klos, M., Escoredo, M., Joerin, A., Lemos, V., Rauws, M., & Bunge, E. (2021). Artificial Intelligence–Based Chatbot for Anxiety and Depression in University Students: Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Formative Research, 5(8), e20678. https://formative.jmir.org/2021/8/e20678. DOI: 10.2196/20678.

Woebot (2016)

Authors: Woebot Health – https://woebothealth.com/

Chat (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.woebot

Chat (iPhone): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/woebot-the-mental-health-ally/id1305375832

Source: https://formative.jmir.org/2021/5/e27868

Woebot uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Darcy, A., Daniels, J., Salinger, D., Wicks, P., & Robinson, A. (2021). Evidence of Human-Level Bonds Established With a Digital Conversational Agent: Cross-sectional, Retrospective Observational Study. JMIR Formative Research, 5(5), e27868. https://formative.jmir.org/2021/5/e27868. DOI: 10.2196/27868

Fitzpatrick, K., Darcy, A., & Vierhile, M. (2017). Delivering Cognitive Behavior Therapy to Young Adults With Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety Using a Fully Automated Conversational Agent (Woebot): A Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Mental Health, 4(2), e19. https://mental.jmir.org/2017/2/e19. DOI: 10.2196/mental.7785.

Prochaska, J., Vogel, E., Chieng, A., Kendra, M., Baiocchi, M., Pajarito, S., & Robinson, A. (2021). A Therapeutic Relational Agent for Reducing Problematic Substance Use (Woebot): Development and Usability Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 23(3), e24850. https://www.jmir.org/2021/3/e24850. DOI: 10.2196/24850.

Youper (2016)

Authors: Youper, Inc. – https://www.youper.ai/

Chat (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=br.com.youper

Chat (iPhone): https://apps.apple.com/pl/app/youper-cbt-therapy-chatbot/id1060691513

CBT Therapy Chatbot.

Wysa (2017)

Authors: Jo Aggarwal and Ramakant Vempati – https://www.wysa.com/

Chat (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=bot.touchkin

Chat (iPhone): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/wysa-mental-health-support/id1166585565

Anxiety, therapy chatbot.

Beatty, C., Malik, T., Saha, M., & Sinha, C. (2022). Evaluating the Therapeutic Alliance With a Free-Text CBT Conversational Agent (Wysa): A Mixed-Methods Study. Frontiers in Digital Health, 4. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fdgth.2022.847991. DOI: 10.3389/fdgth.2022.847991.

Anna (2019)

Author: Happify Health

Get started: https://www.happify.com/

“(…) digital AI coach, Anna, has been trained by a team of clinicians, psychotherapists, content creators, writers, data scientists, and research psychologists to provide human alliance and connection, as well as a tailored experience designed to increase engagement for patients.”

Elomia (2021)

Authors: Elomia Health, Inc.

Chat: https://elomia.com/

Open-ended conversation with a virtual therapist.

Romanovskyi, O., Pidbutska, N., & Knysh, A. (2022). Elomia Chatbot: the Effectiveness of Artificial Intelligence in the Fight for Mental Health. In Proceedings of the 4th International Workshop on AI for Social Good (pp. 89-94). CEUR Workshop Proceedings. Retrieved from https://ceur-ws.org/Vol-2870/paper89.pdf

ChatGPT (2022)

Author: OpenAI

Chat: https://chat.openai.com

Chat (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.openai.chatgpt

Chat (iPhone): https://apps.apple.com/pl/app/chatgpt/id6448311069

A large language model (LLM) – based chatbot.

OpenAI. (2022, November 30). Introducing ChatGPT. https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt

ChatPal (2022)

Author: Lead Partner organisation: Ulster University – https://chatpal.interreg-npa.eu/

Chat (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.chatpalmobile

Chat (iPhone): https://apps.apple.com/gb/app/chatpal-psychology-chatbot/id1559939491

Source: https://www.jmir.org/2023/1/e43051

The ChatPal project will develop and trial a chatbot to support and promote mental wellbeing in rural areas.

Potts, C., Lindström, F., Bond, R., Mulvenna, M., Booth, F., Ennis, E., Parding, K., Kostenius, C., Broderick, T., Boyd, K., Vartiainen, A., Nieminen, H., Burns, C., Bickerdike, A., Kuosmanen, L., Dhanapala, I., Vakaloudis, A., Cahill, B., MacInnes, M., Malcolm, M., O’Neill, S. (2023). A Multilingual Digital Mental Health and Well-Being Chatbot (ChatPal): Pre-Post Multicenter Intervention Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 25, e43051. https://doi.org/10.2196/43051 

MIRA (2022)

Author: The University of Alberta – https://www.mymira.ca/index.html

Chat: https://mymira.ca/chatbot/

“I can’t give you medical advice and I’m not a counsellor. But I can help you figure out where to go to find care and support!”

MIRA (chatbot)

Pi (2022)

Personal intelligence.

Authors: Inflection AI, Inc. – https://inflection.ai/

Chat: https://pi.ai/talk

Chat (iPhone): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/pi-personal-ai-assistant/id6445815935

A supportive and empathetic conversational AI.

Serena (2022)

Authors: Informatism, LLC – https://serena.chat

Chat: https://my.serena.chat/

Chat (Android): https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.serena.auth

Chat (iPhone): https://apps.apple.com/us/app/serena-ai-emotional-support/id6466448421

A virtual mental health companion.

Brocki, L., Dyer, G. C., Gładka, A., & Chung, N. C. (2023). Deep Learning Mental Health Dialogue System. arXiv preprint arXiv:2301.09412. https://arxiv.org/abs/2301.09412

Socrates (2023)

Authors: socra, Inc. – Mike Morton and Eduarda Ferreira

Chat: https://socra.com

Goals focused AI coach, providing guidance, motivation, and support.


Chatbots, not available to chat

PARRY (1972)

Author: Kenneth Colby

It simulates a person with paranoid schizophrenia. There are famous conversations of ELIZA (the “psychotherapist” chatbot) and PARRY (the “patient” chatbot).

https://www.cs.cmu.edu/afs/cs/project/ai-repository/ai/areas/classics/parry/

ALICE (1995)

Artificial Linguistic Internet Computer Entity

Author: Richard Wallace

Another open-domain chatbot, including those that might be therapeutic or supportive.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_Linguistic_Internet_Computer_Entity

MACCO (1999)

My Automated Conversational COACH

Author: Timothy Bickmore

MACCO was an early computer-based conversational agent designed to provide coaching in areas such as stress management and weight loss.

Gabby (2013)

Gabby is a VPA configured for delivery via internet so that users can access the system on any computer with Web access. The Gabby system: (1) screens women for their PCC risks; (2) assesses their readiness for behavior change, specific to each risk; (3) educates them about their risks; and (4) helps them create a “My Health To-Do List”.

Gardiner, P., Hempstead, M. B., Ring, L., Bickmore, T., Yinusa-Nyahkoon, L., Tran, H., Paasche-Orlow, M., Damus, K., & Jack, B. (2013). Reaching women through health information technology: The Gabby preconception care system. American Journal of Health Promotion, 27(3 Suppl), eS11-20. https://doi.org/10.4278/ajhp.1200113-QUAN-18

MACH (2013)

My Automated Conversation coacH

(…) a system for people to practice social interactions in face-to-face scenarios. MACH consists of a 3D character that can seehear, and make its own decisions in real time.

https://alumni.media.mit.edu/~mehoque/MACH.htm

Courgeon, M., Martin, J.-C., Mutlu, B., Picard, R., & Hoque, M. (2014, December 22). MACH: My automated conversation coach. In UbiComp 2013 – Proceedings of the 2013 ACM International Joint Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing. https://doi.org/10.1145/2493432.2493502

MYLO (2013)

Manage Your Life Online

Authors: Hannah Gaffney, Warren Mansell, Rachel Edwards, Jason Wright – https://www.mylochat.com/

Uses Method of Levels (MOL) principles to emulate a therapist.

Gaffney, H., Mansell, W., Edwards, R., & Wright, J. (2014). Manage Your Life Online (MYLO): A pilot trial of a conversational computer-based intervention for problem solving in a student sample. Behavior and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 42(6), 731-746. https://doi.org/10.1017/S135246581300060X. PMID: 23899405.

Pharmabot (2015)

Designed to prescribe, suggest and give information on generic medicines for children.

Comendador, B. E. V., Francisco, B. M. B., Medenilla, J. S., Nacion, S. M. T., & Serac, T. B. E. (2015). Pharmabot: A Pediatric Generic Medicine Consultant Chatbot. Journal of Automation and Control Engineering, 3(2), 137-140. doi: 10.12720/joace.3.2.137-140.

Shim / Enjo (2015)

Author: Hello Shim (acquired by Kry)

Enjo was described as wellness for parents and supported daily mindful reflections.

iHelpr (2018)

Administers self-assessment instruments/scales and provides wellbeing and self-help guidance and information.

Cameron, G., Cameron, D., Megaw, G., Bond, R. R., Mulvenna, M. D., O’Neill, S., Armour, C., & McTear, M. F. (2018). Best Practices for Designing Chatbots in Mental Healthcare – A Case Study on iHelpr. Retrieved from https://api.semanticscholar.org/CorpusID:69643466

SISU (2019)

Software-agent providing a brief Intervention for Self-help to Uplift psychological well-being

Authors: Eileen Bendig

The SISU chatbot simulates a conversation modeled on the paradigm of therapeutic writing, with elements of acceptance and commitment therapy, which instruct participants to write about important life events.

Bendig, E., Erb, B., Schulze-Thuesing, L., & Baumeister, H. (2019). The Next Generation: Chatbots in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy to Foster Mental Health – A Scoping Review. Verhaltenstherapie, 32(Suppl. 1), 64–76. https://doi.org/10.1159/000501812

Bendig, E. (2022). Feasibility of innovative internet interventions for mental health in adults living with chronic somatic disease (Doctoral dissertation, Universität Ulm). Retrieved from https://oparu.uni-ulm.de/xmlui/handle/123456789/45489

Otis (2022)

Author: Yenushka Goonesekera and Liesje Donkin

“The aim was to investigate the feasibility, acceptability, engagement, and effectiveness of a cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – based chatbot (Otis) as an early health anxiety management intervention for adults in New Zealand during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Goonesekera, Y., & Donkin, L. (2022). A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Chatbot (Otis) for Health Anxiety Management: Mixed Methods Pilot Study. JMIR Formative Research, 6. URL: https://api.semanticscholar.org/CorpusID:252425379

CapacitaBOT (2022)

This project sounds great – a chatbot that may support the people with intellectual disabilities.

Mateos-Sanchez, M., Melo, A. C., Blanco, L. S., & García, A. M. F. (2022). Chatbot, as Educational and Inclusive Tool for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Sustainability, 14, 1520. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031520

VRECC (2022)

Trappey, A. J. C., Lin, A. P. C., Hsu, K. Y. K., Trappey, C. V., & Tu, K. L. K. (2022). Development of an Empathy-Centric Counseling Chatbot System Capable of Sentimental Dialogue Analysis. Processes, 10, 930. https://doi.org/10.3390/pr10050930

ALLEVIATE (2023)

Designed to assist patients suffering from mental health challenges with personalized care and assist clinicians with understanding their patients better.

Roy, K., Khandelwal, V., Goswami, R., Dolbir, N., Malekar, J., & Sheth, A. (2023). Demo Alleviate: Demonstrating Artificial Intelligence Enabled Virtual Assistance for Telehealth: The Mental Health Case. arXiv preprint, arXiv:2304.00025. https://arxiv.org/abs/2304.00025

Farsi (2023)

The chatbot make use of Self-Attachment Technique (SAT). It is probably the first mental health chatbot in Farsi (Persian).

Elahimanesh, S., Salehi, S., Movahed, S. Z., Alazraki, L., Hu, R., & Edalat, A. (2023). From Words and Exercises to Wellness: Farsi Chatbot for Self-Attachment Technique. arXiv preprint arXiv:2310.09362. Retrieved from https://arxiv.org/abs/2310.09362

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ADA

CoachVici

Chai

Mindspa

Nuna

Serenity

Stresscoach

https://www.soniahealth.com/

sophia.chat