Panic attack bot
February 6, 2017 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Panic attack bot
I made a little chatbot that tries to help people through a panic attack. I'm looking for feedback.

About 1.5 years ago, I started having really serious panic attacks, and I've been dealing with it ever since. I've learned a lot about how to deal with panic attacks since then, and wanted to see if there was any way that I can help other people who are going through this - especially at 2 a.m. when nobody else is around and you feel really scared and alone. I put this together over the weekend to see if maybe it was a good idea and now i'm running it by people - it's just a wee test i'd love if anyone had any input!

The reliable way to talk to the bot is in the UK - just say "hi" to 01234 480 205. You can also DM it on (Twitter sometimes gets angry and calls the messages spam).

Thank you!
Role: Maker
posted by ukdanae (4 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

It's a great idea, and I like the exercises you use, but when your bot says, "Okay?" and I reply with, "No," it sometimes gives me a response that's appropriate for a "No," and sometimes it just barrels on through the exercise. So that's my only real criticism.
posted by xingcat at 6:45 PM on February 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

I like it. I got appropriate responses to my no answers.
posted by MexicanYenta at 12:48 PM on February 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't get panic attacks, but I got experience talking people through them when I used to volunteer for a phone crisis line. I thought this was a really neat idea, so I tried it out :)

I used the twitter bot, if that makes any difference. I had the same problem as xingcat above (inappropriate response to a no). There was also a point later on where it responded to my "yes still with you" by saying "no problem - lets try something else".

A couple of suggestions:
- accept a wider variety of slang for positive/negative replies to make it more responsive (i.e. it accepts y, yes, ok, no, all in caps and lowercase, but not "k" or "n"); this would be really nice if I were just on my phone texting the twitter account.
- have the bot prompt you (maybe only once or twice, not indefinitely!) if you go more than a minute or two between responses?
- perhaps split the two paragraph messages into two messages (I noticed the first paragraph is usually a general statement and the second one is an action) if that is allowed

I really liked your idea, and thought the messages struck the right tone of being firm, reassuring, and friendly. It's simple, easy to read, and could be a nice thing to have on your phone when you need someone to 'talk' you through it. Best of luck with this!
posted by variella at 10:46 AM on February 11, 2017

Thank you everyone for taking the time to try it out, this is so helpful! I'm going to re-tool for a v2 with all of your great feedback in mind!
posted by ukdanae at 4:52 AM on February 12, 2017

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