What is MYLO?
Manage Your Life Online, or MYLO, is a conversational agent that uses artificial intelligence to emulate a therapist. MYLO uses Method of Levels (MOL) principles, a psychological therapy, to help people become more aware of the conflicts causing their distress and solve their problems. MYLO does this by asking curious questions that encourage the user to explore and think about their problem in more depth and from different perspectives.
The current MYLO interface was designed with young people and current research is ongoing to test MYLOs effectiveness in this population.
Why was MYLO developed?
Digital mental health interventions are a highly scalable way to improve access to psychological interventions. MYLO is easy to use and can support a wide range of problems. MYLO is the only chatbot to currently utilise MOL principles and techniques, with a large database of therapist questions.
What problem is MYLO addressing?
There is an unmet need for supporting youth mental health due to waiting lists, fear of disclosure, stigma, limited session numbers and barriers to access (e.g., school/work). MYLO is user-led and highly flexible to competing demands on users’ time. For people who cannot, or do not want to access professional help or as a supplement to other mental health interventions, MLYO is easily accessible on user’s internet devices (e.g., smartphones), does not require a diagnosis or referral to use, can be used at a time and place of the users choosing, and can be used to support a variety of problems.
Previous MYLO research
Two randomised controlled studies found that university students reported that their problems were better resolved by MYLO than a comparison chatbot (Bird et al., 2018; Gaffney et al., 2014). A study of older adults also found users spent more time talking with MYLO than a comparison chatbot, as well as rating MYLO as more helpful (Bennion et al., 2020). Previous studies have only measured outcomes from very brief use of MYLO (up to 2 weeks) and studies of longer-term use are planned to examine MYLOs effectiveness at resolving problems and lowering psychological distress.
Aims of the Innovation Challenge 2021: Child and Youth Mental Health
MYLO is currently receiving funding from the Western Australian Government, Department of Health. MYLO is currently being co-designed with a panel of young people (aged 17-24) to create a new version of MYLO that can be used on smartphones and has an interface that is appealing and accessibly to the young people of Western Australia. Once this is complete, we will recruit a small sample of young people (aged 16-24) from Western Australia to test the new interface. The young people will test MYLO for two weeks, completing online assessments along the way, and will provide further feedback in a focus group after the testing phase. The feedback will be used to develop a larger randomised clinical trial to test the effectiveness of MYLO for young people.