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ArXiv Preprint

E-health technologies have the potential to provide scalable and accessible interventions for youth mental health. As part of a developing an ecosystem of e-screening and e-therapy tools for New Zealand young people, a dialog agent, Headstrong, has been designed to promote resilience with methods grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy and positive psychology. This paper describes the architecture underlying the chatbot. The architecture supports a range of over 20 activities delivered in a 4-week program by relatable personas. The architecture provides a visual authoring interface to its content management system. In addition to supporting the original adolescent resilience chatbot, the architecture has been reused to create a 3-week 'stress-detox' intervention for undergraduates, and subsequently for a chatbot to support young people with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, with all three systems having been used in field trials. The Headstrong architecture illustrates the feasibility of creating a domain-focused authoring environment in the context of e-therapy that supports non-technical expert input and rapid deployment.

Chester Holt-Quick, Jim Warren, Karolina Stasiak, Ruth Williams, Grant Christie, Sarah Hetrick, Sarah Hopkins, Tania Cargo, Sally Merry

2020-05-15