Navi, short for navigator, is a chat-based virtual assistant for students wanting to learn more about the mental health supports available to them at the University of Toronto. All you have to do is click on the chat button and tell Navi what you need help with or how you are feeling. From stress and anxiety to feelings of discrimination or loneliness and everything in between, Navi is able to help by quickly searching for and providing you with contact information and direct links to U of T and community resources.
Navi is an anonymous tool that provides you with information to help you navigate mental health resources and make decisions about seeking appropriate supports. This tool is for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice, counselling nor does it make any diagnosis or identify personalized treatments. Please do not provide any personally identifying or health information about yourself or anybody else when using this tool. If you have concerns about your health, please speak with your healthcare provider. If this is an emergency, please contact U of T My SSP at 1-844-451-9700 (or 001-416-380-6578 if you are outside North America), Good2Talk at 1-866-925-5454, or 911.
The virtual agent is a conversational tool that uses technological “learning” to respond to questions through an online chat. Leveraging IBM’s Watson Virtual Assistant platform, this tool can help you find answers to your questions and act as a wayfinding tool to connect you to the most appropriate mental health resources and programs at the University of Toronto and beyond. The tool can be accessed 24/7.
Navi has multiple meanings. It’s short for “navigator,” which helps describe what the tool is: a wayfinding resource that helps students navigate the programs, resources and services U of T has to offer. Navi is also means “kind to people” in many languages, which speaks to the culture of caring and excellence that the University identified as a goal in the recent Presidential and Provostial Task Force on Student Mental Health. This name was also chosen by students in a recent survey.
Navi is a virtual tool, available 24/7. The tool isn’t monitored, so it’s up to the user to decide when/if to connect to the resources (including 24/7 services) provided. The University reviews some of the chats where feedback was provided as a way to continue to train and develop the tool.
Throughout most conversations in the tool, there are links to resources that are available 24/7, where students can immediately talk to someone.
Navi has been developed by subject-matter experts at the University, which means that all responses have been curated and tailored to the U of T experience. Where Google responds with thousands of results, Navi highlights the most relevant services for U of T students.
No. Navi is a wayfinding tool and is meant to help students find the most appropriate face-to-face (or virtual/phone) resources. Navi also helps identify other tips, strategies, programs and resources.
Navi focuses on connecting students to mental health programs, resources and services. There are lots of factors and experiences that can impact your mental health, so you can ask Navi about a lot of things including: stress, anxiety, loneliness, harassment, discrimination, bullying, academics, career, sleep issues, accessibility, coping techniques, abuse, eating disorders, how to get involved, health care access, and more. Navi will be continually enhanced to be able to speak to more topics.
Navi provides a list of on- and off-campus resources and services, and will continue to be expanded and trained. Right now, institutional resources on each campus are suggested, but divisional resources aren’t. Off-campus resources are open and free resources, with many of them being 24/7 crisis support lines and support.
Yes. If you click on a number provided, you can call that number directly.
Yes. Many of the University’s resources and services have been tailored to support our learners from all over the world. This includes access to registrarial services, academic services and various health services. Some services are only available to students in Ontario/Canada, but they’re specified in the tool. You can always call the U of T My Student Support Program (U of T My SSP) 001-416-380-6578 if you’re outside North America and need access to 24/7 mental health support. U of T My SSP has immediate support available over the phone in 35 languages, and over chat in simplified Chinese, English, French and Spanish. Ongoing support is available over the phone in 146 languages.
Yes. Navi is for all students at the University of Toronto. Since Navi is available publicly, parents/families, and university faculty, staff and administrators can also use to the tool help identify resources and services for students.
We’ve worked with subject-matter experts at the University to identify topics, responses, resources and services for students. Each response has been curated and mapped to topics. If you don’t receive the answer you were looking for, use the thumbs up/thumbs down function to give us feedback, which will help to train and develop the tool.
The virtual agent isn’t currently voice-activated and needs to be manually selected in order for the conversation to begin. Once started, you can use a local speech-to-text program (e.g. speech keyboard on iOS) to interact with the virtual agent.
If you work at the University of Toronto and are interested in adding a link to Navi on your website, email Cathlin Sullivan at email@example.com.