Among other things, the researchers will try to create a so-called chatbot, a software that young people should be able to chat with and who can provide therapeutic support.

- It's a robot on the other side, that's what the idea is, says Karolina Parding, one of the researchers in the project.

Mental illness is increasing

Mental illness among young people is increasing and health care is facing major challenges. Therefore, the new interdisciplinary research and development project ChatPal at LTU is now being launched, whereby it is hoped to create a software that young people should be able to talk to and receive therapeutic support from around the clock.

The goal of the project is to reduce the number of young people who need to become patients in the future. But the idea is not that the robot should replace the personal contact.

- If we can in some way help the professionals do what they need to do, and this can help them to be relieved - then it is a lot won, says Karolina Parding.

Should not replace human contact

The researchers actually believe that some may prefer the robot to humans in certain situations.

- If you live in sparsely populated areas, you may not want to contact the health care exactly where you live. It may happen that you meet your aunt or someone you know or are a little too close to. Mental illness is still quite stigmatized, says Karolina Parding.

Artificial intelligence in the future

It sounds to the researchers that we will see more of just artificial intelligence in the future's attempt to save care, especially in a county like Norrbotten. Already, Kiruna and Gällivarebor can get an ear examination remotely. In Övertorneå, home visits are made to the elderly via a camera eye and in Kalix, a shower robot has been installed on a retirement home.

- Up here in the Arctic, the problems are more and look different. On the one hand, we do not have enough staff and resources, so it becomes a matter of competence supply. It could also be that the distances are long in our region, says Karolina Parding.

How can one be sure that the chat robot does not happen to miss young people who need personal contact with care, eye to eye?

- The project is of course ethically tested to ensure that safety is A and O, says Karolina Parding.