Young people’s (18-25yrs) opinion and feedback on the use of artificially intelligent therapeutic aids to support self-management of emotional wellbeing

You are being invited to share your views on the use of artificial intelligence in technology to improve young people’s emotional wellbeing. Artificial intelligence (AI) means that a computer has been programmed to learn, think and copy the behaviour of a human. Before you decide it is important for you to understand why the research is being done and what it will involve. Please take time to read the following information carefully and discuss it with others if you wish. Ask us if there is anything that is not clear or if you would like more information. Take time to decide whether or not you wish to take part. Thank you for reading this.

What is the project’s purpose?
We would like to further develop an existing online program we have called MYLO (Manage my Life OnLine). MYLO is able to ‘talk’ (via text or speech) with people in a structured way, helping them to explore their problem/needs and supporting them to take control over their life. The program copies the type of questioning that might help people think about their problems differently and start to solve them. The program aims to help people identify the cause of their problem and will pose questions to encourage them to approach the problem in different ways, as an attempt to assist problem-solving. MYLO is like most messenger-style applications. To begin a user starts by describing what is on their mind, then they press OK. Once they have described their problem MYLO will then ask a question based on their reply.

The purpose of this project is to find out what young people think about the use of AI in everyday life and in mental health. We would like to show you MYLO, let you test it and tell us what you think. We think that if we can create a system that speaks to people and gets to know them, it may be helpful in encouraging them to problem solve better and improve their emotional health. But we also need to know if this is something that you would like to see us developing. We only want to create solutions to problems that exist and that people find acceptable.

We have planned two online evening workshop for up to 6 young people to come together and explore the idea of AI in mental health. The workshops will be held on a Google hang out and will last between 30-60 minutes.

Why have I been chosen?
You are a young person aged 18-25 years old and you are member of Mind.

Do I have to take part?
It is up to you to decide whether or not to take part. If you do decide to take part, you will be given this information sheet to keep and be asked to sign a consent form before the start of the online chat. You can withdraw from the study at any time and without providing a reason. If you decide to withdraw, any data relating to you will be kept unless you state otherwise (up to the point before we produce a report), in which case it will be destroyed.

What will happen to me if I take part?
If you decide you would like to take part in the workshop you should email Dr Katherine Easton on She will give you access to the chat and tell you when it will be happening.

You will be chatting with up to 5 other young people who may know from Mind activities. Four medical students from the University will also be joining the chat, although they may not be ‘chatting’ with you, they may be more of an observer. They will be supporting discussions and joining in with the testing of the MYLO program. In addition one of 2 senior researchers from the University will ‘lurk’ in the chat to make sure the research stays on topic (Dr Katherine Easton or Dr Chris Blackmore)

We will talk for about 30 minutes to an hour, exploring the use of AI in everyday life and mental health and we will introduce you to MYLO. In the second chat – held a few days after the first – we will discuss what you thought about using MYLO.

We will make a record of our online chat. Once we have made notes from it we will delete the electronic file of this conversation.

You will be offered £20 in high street vouchers for your participation in both chat sessions.

What do I have to do now?
All you have to do is contact Dr Easton if you are interested. Katherine will answer any questions you have and let you know when the online chat is happening.

What are the possible disadvantages and risks of taking part?
We do not foresee any risks or disadvantages to your taking part in the study. If at any time you are upset during the discussion please let us know and we will support you to access Mind services that can help you manage this.

What are the possible benefits of taking part?
You will be contributing to a research programme that is attempting to help young people improve their problem solving skills and live more emotionally healthy lives. In addition you might find it interesting to see and use some advanced technology and contribute to its development.

What if something goes wrong?
If you have a complaint about how you have been approached or treated during the study you can contact the project lead at The University of Sheffield, Dr Katherine Easton on 07969846886 or email If you feel that your complaint is about something serious that happened as a result of the study please contact Professor John Brazier, Dean of the School of Health and Related Research (0114 222 0726, email

Will my taking part in this project be kept confidential?
Yes to a degree. In the workshops we will all be sharing our name and information about ourselves. Only share what you feel comfortable with. We will be recording the workshops on a digital camera. No one’s name or details will be given out anywhere and all reports will be anonymous.

Will I be recorded, and how will the recorded media be used?
We will keep a log of the chat. This will be stored on a secure university drive and you won’t be identifiable in the log. We are keeping this to look at your opinions of the topic of AI in mental health. We will destroy it once we have analysed the content.

What will happen to the results of the research project?
We will use the findings from the workshop to help us develop the MYLO system for young people. We will publish the findings from this work in an International journal and try and secure more funding to test the system and find out if it can effectively help people manage their emotional health.

Who is organising and funding the research?
The research is part of a student medical research placement in ScHARR.

Who has ethically reviewed the project?
The project has been reviewed by the University of Sheffield and has been given favourable ethics approval.

Contact for further information
Please contact Dr Katherine Easton to find out more:

Tel: 07969846886

Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare
The University of Sheffield
The Innovation Centre
217 Portobello
S1 4DP