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Published: 2020-08-19

Hi, can I help? Exploring how to design a mental health chatbot for youths

University of Oslo
SINTEF; University of Oslo
chatbot school health service conversational design design science research


Chatbots represent new opportunities for low-threshold preventive mental health support to youths. To provide needed knowledge regarding how to design chatbots for this purpose, we present an exploratory design study where we designed and evaluated a prototype chatbot to complement the work of school nurses in the school health service. The prototype was designed with particular regard for preventive mental health support. The design process involved school nurses, digital health workers, and youths. Through user insight activities, we identified four types of support to be provided through the chatbot: informational, relational, processual, and referral. We explored these four types of support through concept development and prototyping. These results are discussed as a potential basis for a framework for understanding youths’ needs regarding chatbots for preventive mental health support. When discussing the study findings, we point out how the study contributes to theory and practice and suggest avenues for future research.


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How to Cite

Gudmundsen Høiland, C. ., Følstad, A. ., & Karahasanovic, A. . (2020). Hi, can I help? Exploring how to design a mental health chatbot for youths. Human Technology, 16(2), 139–169. Retrieved from