Swedish Startup Flow Launches Mental Health Chatbot to Combat Depression

Flow therapy chatbot
Image: Flow

Flow, a Malmo, Sweden-based medical therapy startup, released a chatbot therapist to treat people suffering from depression. In June, the company launched its brain stimulation headset for treating depression – a first ever medically approved at-home treatment of its kind in the UK and EU.

The new technology was designed to engage users with daily chat conversations and offer self-help techniques, mood tracking, curated videos, meditation and mental exercises, the company said. It also analyzes user’s data to give personalized behavioral therapy, reports MobiHealthNews. The chatbot therapist is based on the latest psychology and neuroscience research, and was developed by clinical psychologists and machine learning experts.

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In the UK, mental illness affects nearly one in four adults. Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 years in England and Wales. One in four adults – approximately 57.7 million Americans – experience a mental health disorder in a given year.

“Accessibility and early intervention in depression is crucial. The ‘always-on’ source of therapy provided by Flow ensures people get the help they need as quickly as possible. Flow can provide anonymity without the fear of being judged by others. This is great as some people feel anxious when it comes to talking about their depression to another human,” said Daniel Mansson, Clinical Psychologist, CEO and Co-Founder of Flow.

Mobile app
Image: Flow

Flow combines brain stimulation and behavior therapy to treat depression at home. Brain stimulation is delivered through a wireless headset, controlled by the app Flow – Depression. In addition, the free app includes a complete treatment program with focus on lifestyle changes that significantly reduce symptoms of depression.

Depression is associated with lowered activity in an area in the front of the brain. The Flow headset delivers gentle electrical signals to this area and rebalances the activity. As a result, your symptoms decrease, the company said.

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Flow is suitable for people over 18 years of age who have been diagnosed with depression (major depressive disorder).

The chatbot therapist can be downloaded for free on iOS. An Android version will be available in October 2019.

Flow was founded in 2016 by Daniel Mansson and Erik Rehn.