The Mood Disorders Society of Canada Virtual Assistant: The development and evaluation of a machine learning and artificial intelligence chatbot to support the mental health of Canadians - Children and Youth Expansion

Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in Canada. Unfortunately, there are significant gaps in care including a lack of support in navigating the mental health system. It is widely agreed by the medical community that there will be a wave of widespread need for mental health related services resulting from COVID-19 which will only further exacerbate existing system issues.With 91% of Canadians actively using the internet, new digital technologies that harness the internet can be leveraged to bridge gaps in services, increasing the ease and ways in which people can access mental health services, and in-turn improving their health outcomes [35].This study will develop, activate, and evaluate state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and machine learning, in the form of a chatbot (called MIRA, the MDSC Virtual Assistant), to support the mental health of young Canadians (ages 14 to 25). Our goal is to examine whether the bot effectively helped children and youth connect with the right services, if users were satisfied with their experience with the bot, and whether the bot supported their wellbeing.

Matthew Reeson
Faculty Supervisor: 
Elizabeth Osuch
Partner University: