This Robot Therapist Talks to Patients Via Facebook

Not everyone is comfortable seeing a therapist or has access to one around the clock, but Woebot is available 24/7 via Facebook.

Almost one in five Americans suffers from an anxiety disorder, and although these ailments are highly treatable, only a third of those afflicted seek help. About 16 million people, or 6.7 percent of the U.S. population, have suffered at least one major depressive episode within the past year.

In some circles, mental illness is still considered taboo, with many people dismissive of conditions and saying things such as “toughen up.” If someone manages to overcome these pressures and seeks treatment, he or she had better have insurance to avoid high fees.

While online therapy providers such as TalkSpace, BetterHelp and Breakthrough all gives users access to therapists, the barrier to entry for these services can be high for people who have a hard time realizing or admitting they need help. Meanwhile, it can be difficult to open up to another person. If an individual gets a bad impression from a therapist, he or she may retreat and not seek care again.

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