The First Mental Health Chatbot in Bulgaria
What are chatbots? Well, in simple terms, chatbots are software applications that interact with users. In a little bit more details, chatbots are artificial intelligence (AI) systems that imitate human speech for the purposes of having a conversation with a real person through text or voice messages. If you are curious and want to know more about them, check this article by GCF Global. They have also provided a neat video explaining what chatbots are.
In the recent years, the chatbot market has been growing fast. Predictions show that by 2024 the size of the chatbot market will reach $9.4 billion. The advancement of AI and machine learning allowed for the creation of a variety of chatbots used by different companies, including companies that introduce creative physical and high-tech solutions for the healthcare industry. Not everything, however, boils down to the business side of things. Sometimes, chatbots can be and are used for solutions that provide added value to society.
Around 10% of all people across the world have went through a mental health disorder. Based on the experience we have at PharmaWorks, we know that this affects not only the patients but their families, too. That’s why we decided to create the first chatbot for mental health in Bulgaria.
“Live, don’t suffer” is the first chatbot for mental health in Bulgaria that can be used with Viber through phone, computer, or tablet. It was a project created in partnership with the “Care for the Patient” association.
This is a personal digital assistant which aims to help anyone interested in their mental condition with a quick and easy access to useful information on various psychiatric disorders. The chatbot provides a revolutionary for Bulgaria geo-localisation of healthcare providers and access to a database of psychiatrists. Anyone using the chatbot can find the closest psychiatrist, medical institution, or emergency centre based on one’s current location.
When a person opens the chatbot on Viber, they will have to take a test first. It is the well-known Rorschach inkblot test that has been used successfully in psychology and psychiatry for many years. It is important to note that this is not a test that can be used for self-diagnosis. It just registers the number of negative perceptions from the overall number of inkblots in order to determine the current mental state of the person – positive or negative. After that, the person can get more in-depth information about their specific disorder or look for help.
The functionalities of the chatbot allow the patients to contact a doctor or a medical facility directly in order to sign up for a consultation themselves or set an appointment for their relatives. This can also be done physically at the specific site after obtaining relevant address information from the same database. Our chatbot is an ongoing project and additional features will be continuously developed in time with the idea to help as many people as possible in their need of mental support. You can listen to an interview for the Bulgarian National Radio with PharmaWorks’ CEO, Ivan Evstatiev, to find out more about the project.
To subscribe for the chatbot, please, click on the following link: https://chats.viber.com/live-dont-suffer