A new way of life. COVID-19 has turned our lives upside down and now most of us have to adjust to a whole new way of life. Like staying at home more and physical social distancing. Being a stay at home mom, my life hasn’t been significantly changed, fortunately. But I know for many people, it has been a difficult adjustment. For one, some people just hate being at home. And it is only human to want to have some interaction with people.
As if that isn’t bad enough, there also is the added stress of trying not to catch this virus… or at least not help further the spread to someone else. And if you’re a parent with school age children, you now have had to play teacher for your kid(s).
Now, more than ever, it is important to make sure to take care of our mental health.
Last year, before I got pregnant, I had reached a point of needing help. Actually going to a real life therapist was out of the question. I wanted that to be a last resort.
I ended up coming across a chatbot and an AI therapy app. I decided that now is the time to share my experience because chances are someone might need to look into these resources, which are FREE by the way.
Remember these aren’t meant to replace traditional therapy. Please seek professional help if you need it.
Facebook Messenger Serenity Chatbot
This is a very basic mental health chatbot that helps you keep track of your mental health by doing check ins. There are only 3 things Serenity does: Check ins, shows you coping strategies, and does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) exercises.
One complaint I have about this chatbot is that it doesn’t give you the option for it to prompt you to check in as often as you may need. From day one the only options given to me was to do a prompted check in twice a week or just do it whenever I want. I would have liked to have more options. Despite the lack of choice of prompts, you can easily to initiate any of the activities offered just by sending a message.
I think the Serenity chatbot is a good option if you’re looking for something really simple to help you track your mental health and a little help to improve it as needed.
But what if Serenity sounds a little to simple…
The good news is there is another option…Youper! After I tried out Serenity and felt like it wouldn’t sufficiently meet my needs alone, I looked up mental health apps at the Google Play store and found the Youper AI Assistant.
This is an AI Assistant that acts kind of like a therapist in your pocket. It tracks your mental state and presents different options based on need. Like prompting you discuss further or prompting you set a goal or reflecting on what you are grateful for.
There are some short tests you can take to make the app more customized to meet your mental needs. And those journal sessions? You can do them multiple times a day however often you need them! And you do have control over how long those little sessions can last.
I like this app a lot. Within less than 8 hours of using it, I already started noticing a positive shift in my mood.
Youper also offers other useful tools:
- Monitoring for: depression, anxiety, social anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress, borderline personality, and panic.
- A personality DNA test
- Tracking of what factors influences your mental state (ex What factors make you feel sad, ashamed, okay, good, confident, etc)
- Various exercises to help you cope
Today (over a year later)…
I no longer use the Serenity chatbot. That didn’t even last a month for me because I opted in to try out a technique but never followed through with actually doing it. So, what happened after that?
Nothing. The chatbot never again prompted anything.
So if one was to use it, I would recommend it only as a quick mental check in. If you choose to try a technique/exercise, make sure you can complete it if you want to be prompted to check in.
Youper is a different story. I still use it to this very day! I do a session with it at least 4 days out of a week. I tend to do it at the end of the day before going to bed. There are days when I might do a session in the middle of the day if something happens that throws me off balance. But that rarely happens.