Researchers in Florida work to help COVID-19 responders in mental distress

  • Source: WFTS-TV ABC 28 Tampa
  • Published: 09/11/2020 12:00 AM

Researchers are working to develop and test a tool to help COVID-19 responders in mental distress. The project was one of 14 at the University of South Florida to receive funding. “The key idea is developing this thing that will interact between people in need and all the resources that exist, it will be that go-between,” said assistant professor Jerome Galea. The researchers said they plan to create a prototype of a chatbot to help break down barriers to access to mental health care. Through things like text or social media messaging, the Tampa Bay Area Treatment & Health Advisor (TABATHA), will help screen the level of mental distress in responders and their service preferences. “This chatbot will integrate screening and basically referral into one product. And why that’s so important is people are going to be at different levels in terms of stigma surrounding care-seeking and also their readiness to engage with care,” said assistant professor Kristin Kosyluk.


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