Mental health and modern technology are two inseparable components of today’s society.
While the proliferation of technological advancements often generates various debates, it’s undeniable that technology has transformed the face of modern society. From social media to smart applications, technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives.
Recognizing the potential of technology to help address mental health issues, especially among adolescents, a group of UGM students conducted innovative research by combining artificial intelligence technology with psychological science.
They developed PsyBot, an artificial intelligence in the form of a WhatsApp bot created using ChatGPT version 3. It responds to user messages and serves as the first psychological aid for students experiencing loneliness.
“Driven by the high prevalence of mental health problems and disorders in adolescents, this background spurred the research conducted by this team. This research is a preventive measure for mental health issues,” explained Annisa Khomsah Salsabila, a Psychology student.
Annisa Salsabila explained that the research was conducted through several stages. They began with a preliminary study involving interviews with five psychologists from Universitas Gadjah Mada, alongside comprehensive literature reviews.
Before experimenting, they screened the loneliness levels of students using the UCLA Loneliness Scale. The screening results served as the basis for further experiments.
Experiments were performed on participant groups with varying levels of loneliness: moderate, high, and very high. The UGM Psychology Psychodiagnostics Laboratory served as the experiment site. According to Salsabila, the results were quite promising.
“This study found that PsyBot effectively reduces students’ vulnerability to loneliness. The interaction patterns closely resemble human interactions in the counseling process. PsyBot can respond to users using micro-counseling skills such as emotional validation,” she elaborated.
With this capability, PsyBot can empathize with users dealing with complex emotional problems. Besides providing understanding, PsyBot can also offer motivation and tips and ensure that the user stays connected to their surroundings.
In line with the principles of psychological first aid, PsyBot can advise users to contact professional services if their symptoms worsen. This ensures that the assistance provided is not just limited to virtual communication but also guides users to seek more appropriate help.
“Furthermore, interactions with PsyBot enhance psychological well-being. The tips and advice provided have proven to bring a sense of calm to users,” added Salsabila.
Psychological first aid is a crucial initial step in addressing mental health issues. Therefore, this research is an essential contribution to mental health problems, assisting students in coping with psychological stress.
Additionally, this innovation represents a significant step in utilizing technology to address mental health issues.
Author: The PsyBot Team