Depression is the most common form of mental instability that people across the globe face these days. According to WHO, globally, more than 300 million people suffer from mental depression in some form or another.
Over the years, many studies have linked depression to the online activities of an individual. E.g. social media addiction can initiate, or in some cases, even aggravate depression symptoms. While the fact of the matter is, there are some developers who are trying to use the very same technology to fight the aforementioned mental disorder.
One such app developed by a couple of IIT graduated engineers – Jo Aggarwal and Ramakant Vempati – targets at helping people going through lows in their life. The bangalore-based company, has developed an app named Wysa which acts as a digital assistant to people who are going through depression.
The app indulges the user into an elaborative conversation asking prompt questions about the user’s current mental state and the reasons behind it. This is done by text inputs by the user or by selecting one of the multiple options provided by the system. Wysa then responds with another interrogative question, a piece of advice along with an example or a definitive physical exercise aimed at relieving the user’s stress. The AI-powered app keeps the conversations anonymous and is present at the user’s beck and call with any suggestions that it can provide.
While the app is by no means an alternative to professional counselling (as it itself mentions to seek professional advice in extreme cases), it is a decent attempt at making anyone feel better by sharing their stressful experiences and gain accurate advice on how to go about it.
The app is still in its Beta phase. With advancement in technology and artificial intelligence, we can only expect such apps to grow in numbers and the overall help that they provide to the end user.