Yesterday, Carizon Family and Community Services, in partnership with the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network (WWLHIN), announced the launch of the Woebot app in Waterloo Region. Woebot is an artificially intelligent chatbot that uses cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to provide individuals with tailored step-by-step guidance to think and feel better.
Developed by leading experts in clinical psychology from Stanford University, Woebot is meant to make mental health radically accessible to everyone. Carizon is sponsoring the local version of the interactive Woebot app for the Waterloo Wellington area. With the referral code, “Ontario”, anyone can download the app for free to monitor their mood and learn about themselves.
“We are very pleased to have the support of Carizon and other local counselling organizations for the launch of Woebot,” said Rhonda Wideman, Director, Community and Population Health for the Waterloo Wellington Local Health Integration Network. “We anticipate many local residents with mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety will benefit from this guided, online cognitive behaviour therapy chatbot.”
Through private, personalized and human-like conversations, users can get the emotional support they need and learn practical strategies to change the way they think about events in their lives. In a recent study conducted at Stanford University, using Woebot led to significant reductions in anxiety and depression among people aged 18-28 years old in just two weeks, compared to an information-only control group.
“Although conversations surrounding mental health are becoming more mainstream, many people still encounter barriers to accessing support,” said Tracy Elop, CEO for Carizon Family and Community Services. “Woebot will help address this issue within the Waterloo Wellington Region so that support is conveniently available while complimenting traditional treatment methods”. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), two-thirds of people needing professional help never access it.
Woebot is not a therapist and is not intended to replace in-person treatment. However, it’s a great tool to use alongside more traditional services as a part of a broader health and wellness ecosystem.