Realizing the need to provide mental health support for young individuals, a group of Grade 11 students from Shiv Nadar School (a not-for-profit initiative of the Shiv Nadar Foundation in K-12 private education) has developed an AI chat-bot that provides a platform to teenagers to discuss their mental health issues, while also providing them non-clinical support to deal with stress and anxiety like suggesting music playlists etc that can help alleviate the stress. This chat-bot is available on www.sparkthespirit.in (a portal designed by the student group) and it monitors the mood of users, helps them express their thoughts and emotions through therapeutic conversations. For individuals who may be open to the human connection, the portal also connects them with people facing similar issues basis the profiling done through the conversation with the chat-bot.
Research studies prior to the pandemic suggested that 14.5% of adolescents in India were found to be suffering from anxiety disorders. Keeping this data in mind, the students conducted another survey with young adults in their age group during the pandemic. The findings suggested that there was a lack of awareness about being susceptible to anxiety, stress and that mental health-related problems exist at a young age too. This encouraged the students to create the AI chat-bot.
Although the chat-bot is not a replacement for a therapist or other mental health coach, it has been helping to create a positive impact on the minds of its users.