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Young people are getting mental health support from AI therapist bots

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Character.ai, a platform allowing users to interact with AI personas, has seen a surge in youngsters seeking support from AI therapist bots. 

Popular characters, including Harry Potter and Elon Musk, are part of the millions of AI personas on the platform. 

Notably, the bot named "Psychologist" has become a focal point.

It received 78 million messages in just over a year since its creation by user Blazeman98. 

Although the platform highlights user engagement for entertainment, mental health bots like Therapist and Are you feeling OK? have gained major traction.

They collectively amassed millions of messages.

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Psychologist, hailed as a "lifesaver" by users, has garnered praise on social media platforms like Reddit. 

Its creator, Sam Zaia, a 30-year-old psychology student from New Zealand, initially designed the bot for personal use as a source of comfort when human therapy was impractical due to cost and availability. 

Surprised by its positive impact, Sam is now undertaking a post-graduate research project to explore the emerging trend of AI therapy, particularly its appeal to people aged 18 to 30.

The success of AI therapy, as seen on Character.ai, underscores its potential role in providing immediate and accessible mental health support.

It’s especially during late hours when traditional support may not be readily available. 

Users find comfort in the text format less daunting than traditional communication methods like phone calls or face-to-face conversations.

AI therapy's immediate and spontaneous nature has proven useful for some users.

However, critics, including professional psychotherapist Theresa Plewman, raise concerns about the bots making quick assumptions and providing advice that may not align with how a human therapist would respond. 

Character.ai, dominated by users aged 18 to 30, is at the forefront of a unique therapeutic revolution. 

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