Suicide prevention charity the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) has radically increased the number of users it supports ahead of World Mental Health Day on Sunday 10th October – thanks to artificial intelligence.
Working with AI startup Futr, CALM has been able to engage users at all times of the day and night, triage queries and connect them with the appropriate live agent.
The AI and automation tool has supported 26,000 users and answered around 52,500 Q&As.
Use of the AI chat has enabled CALM to become a 24/7 support service with a near-immediate response time – where previously callers waited to speak to an available agent during specified opening hours.
At a time when the demand for mental health support is at an all-time high – especially as a result of the pandemic – CALM had to be able to direct resources towards those most in need, provide access 24 hours a day, and reach service users on the channels and apps they are comfortable with.
As the charity’s chief executive officer, Simon Gunning, pointed out, it “will be able to radically scale our service provision through one route only – technology”.
This meant embarking on a multi-year digital transformation programme so that it could make sure it helped as many people as possible. As part of that, CALM used Futr’s automated chatbot as the basis for a bespoke service, known as QBOT, which routes users down specific decision trees, providing support and guidance throughout.
Gunning said: “Futr has already helped us with this massive task through the development of a simple bot to assist people in our helpline queue and out of hours. We’re confident our relationship will continue through automated content discovery and AI-driven triage and that together, CALM and Futr will help huge numbers of people.”
In the 11 months since the partnership began, a huge amount of traffic has been coming through, with QBOT having more than 26,000 connected users and 1.3 million messages The automated service has helped answer 52.5k questions with an average response time of 1.2 seconds, helping to reduce queue times.
This is in addition to the 47.7k conversations that have already taken place through QBOT.
Seun Akindele, head of data and innovation at CALM, said: “The ability to provide our users with support in and out of live service hours, has been critical for us. Whether it is via live chat, Q&As or through our content, it is the first step in providing a best-in-class that suits our individual user needs.”
Andy Wilkins, Co-founder and CEO at Futr said: “The need for the right mental health support has never been more recognised, but people in need of help have to be able to access those services in ways that suit them, at the time they need it. They can’t wait for office hours, which means organisations like CALM have to provide support every minute of the day. CALM’s commitment to its users is exemplary, and we are honoured to be able to support its vital and important work.”AIMental health