La Trobe
1200711_Rathnayaka,M.P.M_2022.pdf (3.75 MB)

A Mental Health Chatbot with Cognitive Skills for Personalised Behavioural Activation and Remote Health Monitoring

Download (3.75 MB)
Mental health issues are at the forefront of healthcare challenges facing contemporary human society. These issues are most prevalent among working-age people, impacting negatively on the individual, his/her family, workplace, community, and the economy. Conventional mental healthcare services, although highly effective, cannot be scaled up to address the increasing demand from affected individuals, as evidenced in the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Conversational agents, or chatbots, are a recent technological innovation that has been successfully adapted for mental healthcare as a scalable platform of cross-platform smartphone applications that provides first-level support for such individuals. Despite this disposition, mental health chatbots in the extant literature and practice are limited in terms of the therapy provided and the level of personalisation. For instance, most chatbots extend Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) into predefined conversational pathways that are generic and ineffective in recurrent use. In this paper, we postulate that Behavioural Activation (BA) therapy and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are more effectively materialised in a chatbot setting to provide recurrent emotional support, personalised assistance, and remote mental health monitoring. We present the design and development of our BA-based AI chatbot, followed by its participatory evaluation in a pilot study setting that confirmed its effectiveness in providing support for individuals with mental health issues.


Publication Date











Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute (MDPI)



Rights Statement

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (