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, University of Auckland
  • Uses Facebook Messenger 
  • Activities to help with the user's mental health 
  • Aimed at adolescents and young adults (13–24 years)

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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
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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. Thereafter, you will get link to Facebook that will connect you with Aroha chatbot. After a few days of using it, Aroha will send you a link to give them feedback. 


✔ The main menu covers the following: COVID-19 resources, check your hauora (mental health questionnaire), how are you going now? and activities.

✔ The activities menu covers the following: calming activities, staying connected, spirituality, practising gratitude, distracting yourself, getting active, getting expert help and general tips. The general tips section is a sub-menu covering alcohol & drugs, sleep, self-care and having a routine. The self-care section has guided audio mindfulness recordings.

✔ Sometimes recognised when the reviewer was in danger.

✔ Strong Māori and te reo focus.

✔ The user can respond with preset emojis or text.

✘ Stated to be still in development.

✘ Access is through a research study only.

✘ Facebook Messenger is required.

✘ The bot didn't remember the reviewer on their second session (eg, it asked for their name again).

✘ 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.

✘ Only some of the 10 audio recordings would load.

Review details

Date of review: April 2020 (accessed 27/4/2020)
Platform reviewed: Web-based browser

App developer
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Credits: Health Navigator Editorial Team.