Aroha chatbot

A chatbot for young people (13–24 years old) to help them manage their worries during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aroha By Habits, The University of Auckland
Features
  • Uses Facebook Messenger 
  • Activities to help with your mental health 
  • Aimed at teenagers and young adults (13–24 years)

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Country of origin

New Zealand

Clinical review 




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Security and privacy Does the app:
  • collect medical information? Yes
  • require a login? Yes
  • have password protection? Yes
  • have a privacy policy? Unclear, but approved by the Auckland Ethics Committee
  • require internet access? Yes
Read more safety tips around health apps.
Cost Free

What does the chatbot do?

Aroha is a chatbot designed to help young people cope with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing positive ways of coping. To appeal to a younger audience (13–24 years), the chatbot works on Facebook Messenger.

To set up an account, you can use Habits portal, a secure online portal. You will then get a link to Facebook that connects you with the Aroha chatbot. After a few days of using it, Aroha will send you a link to give them feedback. 

PROS CONS 

✔ There are a large number of guided activities divided into different sections:

• Mood and Emotions covers a selection of calming activities such as breathing exercises and meditation, Prime Minister’s message, self-care, and how to distract yourself.
• Boost Wellbeing covers getting active, spirituality, staying connected and practicing gratitude.
• Practical Support covers getting expert help, alcohol and drugs, violence/abuse, anger and money worries.

✔ It uses different methods to assess level of distress, such as simple numerical rating, and a more fully fledged mental health questionnaire.

✔ Strong tikanga and te reo Māori focus and recognises te reo Māori when it is used.

✔ You can respond with pre-set emojis or text.

✔ The content responds to the various COVID-19 alert levels specific to different regions.

✔ Reminders for certain activities, eg, gratitude and exercise.

✔ The apps is being continuously improved.

✘ Facebook Messenger is required.

✘ No videos.

✘ The pure chat-based system makes navigation through the programme difficult without a universally accessible menu or a way to quickly quit out of activities and menus.

✘ The guided audio meditations would not display or load.

✘ Access is only available by consenting to be part of The University of Auckland's research study.

✘ The bot has a limited ability to respond to or understand free text.

Review details

Date of review: March 2021 (accessed 8/3/2021)
Platform reviewed: Web-based browser

App developer
If you are the developer and would like to provide updated information about this app, please email the app library manager at applibrary@healthnavigator.org.nz.

Disclaimer: Health Navigator’s app library is a free consumer service to help you decide whether a health app would be suitable for you. Our review process is independent. We have no relationship with the app developers or companies and no responsibility for the service they provide. This means that if you have an issue with one of the apps we have reviewed, you will need to contact the app developer or company directly.

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Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team. Reviewed By: Jeremy Steinberg, GP, RNZCGP Last reviewed: 09 Apr 2021