“A Great Way to Start the Conversation”: Evidence for the Use of an Adolescent Mental Health Chatbot Navigator for Youth at Risk of HIV and Other STIs

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Chatbot, Mental health, Usability, Youth

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Chatbot use is increasing for mobile health interventions on sensitive and stigmatized topics like mental health because of their anonymity and privacy. This anonymity provides acceptability to sexual and gendered minority youth (ages 16–24) at increased risk of HIV and other STIs with poor mental health due to higher levels of stigma, discrimination, and social isolation. This study evaluates the usability of Tabatha-YYC, a pilot chatbot navigator created to link these youth to mental health resources. Tabatha-YYC was developed using a Youth Advisory Board (n = 7). The final design underwent user testing (n = 20) through a think-aloud protocol, semi-structured interview, and a brief survey post-exposure which included the Health Information Technology Usability Evaluation Scale. The chatbot was found to be an acceptable mental health navigator by participants. This study provides important design methodology considerations and key insights into chatbot design preferences of youth at risk of STIs seeking mental health resources.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science, v. 8, p. 382-391