Young people turning to AI therapist bots


Harry Potter, Elon Musk, Beyoncé, Super Mario and Vladimir Putin.

These are just some of the millions of artificial intelligence (AI) personas you can talk to on - a popular platform where anyone can create chatbots based on fictional or real people.

It uses the same type of AI tech as the ChatGPT chatbot but, in terms of time spent, is more popular.

And one bot has been more in demand than those above, called Psychologist.

A total of 78 million messages, including 18 million since November, have been shared with the bot since it was created by a user called Blazeman98 just over a year ago. did not say how many individual users that is for the bot, but says 3.5 million people visit the overall site daily.

The bot has been described as "someone who helps with life difficulties".

The San Francisco Bay area firm played down its popularity, arguing that users are more interested in role-playing for entertainment. The most popular bots are anime or computer game characters like Raiden Shogun, which has been sent 282 million messages.

However, few of the millions of characters are as popular as Psychologist, and in total there are 475 bots with "therapy", "therapist", "psychiatrist" or "psychologist" in their names which are able to talk in several languages.

Some of them are what you could describe as entertainment or fantasy therapists like Hot Therapist. But the most popular are mental health helpers like Therapist which has had 12 million messages, or Are you feeling OK?, which has received 16.5 million.

Psychologist is by far the most popular mental health character, with many users sharing glowing reviews on social media site Reddit.

"It's a lifesaver," posted one person.

"It's helped both me and my boyfriend talk about and figure out our emotions," shared another.

The user behind Blazeman98 is 30-year-old Sam Zaia from New Zealand.

"I never intended for it to become popular, never intended it for other people to seek or to use as like a tool," he says.

"Then I started getting a lot of messages from people saying that they had been really positively affected by it and were utilising it as a source of comfort."

The psychology student says he trained the bot using principles from his degree by talking to it and shaping the answers it gives to the most common mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety.