We wanted to create a personal self-care assistant that could have beneficial conversations with any user! We are passionate about mental health awareness and were inspired to introduce Charlie as a positive support system. Many students experience stress and anxiety and our hope is that Charlie can give them some meaningful support.
What it Does
Charlie is essentially a guide that provides a variety of resources for an individual that may be concerned about their mental health, or needs someone to discuss how they are feeling. The chatbot provides fast responses, and maintains the conversation in a way that ensures the user is understood and that their questions are answered. It helps manage stress by providing de-stressing activities, schedules counselling sessions at the counselor's earliest availability, and even conducts quick risk assessments to connect the user with a crisis counselor immediately.
How We Built It
We built our chatbot using Google Dialogflow and also used Google Cloud Functions and the Google Calendar API to make an interactive experience if the user were to request a counselor or schedule an appointment. We used HTML/CSS to create a website and platform that could host the chatbot. Figma was used to create a pleasing logo/character that would represent Charlie.
Some initial challenges were determining the conversational flow of the chatbot, as well as providing information in an easy to understand way. We overcame this by really focusing in on each of the chatbot's intents, as well as brainstorming possible expressions and interactions it could have with the user. We learned about agents, intents, and key phrases that are important when coming up with potential responses for a conversation. We also learned a lot about Google Dialogflow and its different features.
What's next for Charlie
The aim is to make Charlie more accessible to users across various languages. Additionally, we would like for Charlie to be more conversational across topics and prioritize its approachability and readiness to help in various situations. The application can be used across other platforms as well, and it would be great if we could connect it with universities and programs that want to provide helpful resources to their students.