The mental health of Americans according to a Pew Research survey is declining.
Those interviewed admitted experiencing suicidal thoughts at some point because of pressure from work, traffic jams and spouse problems among others. Canada like the US faces a similar risk of suicide rates¹ and reports 4,000 annual deaths.
From these figures, suicide is a serious mental health problem that needs our attention. Technology is supporting suicide management in Canada and the US with both countries adopting artificial intelligence and machine-learning tools to manage the situation.
The Public Health Agency of Canada is collaborating with AI start-ups in mental health² and this will minimize cases and enable faster responses.
How can artificial intelligence reduce suicide rates?
AI algorithms detect the behavior and mental activities of people based on data sets trained and assist in suicide management. Addressing the suicide problem comes down to detecting patterns and acting quickly to avoid negative implications. This is what AI does best. AI tools assist counselors and responders to interact with suicide victims and address the problem early.
Suicide patterns need detailed analysis and AI tools connect trends accurately. The AI identifies patient behaviors likely to lead suicide, which makes it a perfect tool for this role. Machine-learning algorithms analyze patterns and offer recommendations based on the mental health conditions of patients.
Start-ups using AI in Mental Health Arena
There is a correlation between suicide and mental health and AI start-ups are emerging to address this social problem. Let us review some start-ups using AI and Data Science solutions to address trauma, depression, and PTSD.
1. Advanced Symbolics
Advanced Symbolics¹⁰, a start-up based in Canada uses AI to predict events such as Brexit and suicide. The start-up is using social media information to analyze behaviors, patterns, and moods that lead to suicide. Advanced Symbolics algorithms review user data and determine those likely to commit suicide.
The recent collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada is propelling the start-up to develop solutions in the suicide prevention space.
Suicide management is vital in preventing deaths and Advanced Symbolics offers data based on AI searches such as those undergoing trauma. Agencies and counseling experts use the information from Advanced Symbolics to evaluate suicide rates and develop solutions. AI offers accurate results³ and Advanced Symbolics is helping organizations plan on suicide rates and offer information about best practices.
Based in San Francisco, Joyable¹¹ offers therapy sessions through their AI application where users report their experiences such as depression. Health experts from Joyable assist users to manage their emotional situations by finding balance in life such as spending time with family and engaging in social activities to feel better. Tutorials from Joyable give users guidance on managing their conditions through simple home-based solutions.
Lantern¹² uses AI solutions to communicate with users about their mental and psychological health. The Lantern application offers users a customized experience for reporting mental problems and receiving online solutions. Their trained bots interact with users and support from human agents makes the application effective for preventing suicide.
4. Quartet Health
Machine-learning applications at Quartet Health¹³ assist in determining those with mental health problems and offers recommendations. Counselors develop treatment plans that patients follow with continued support until recovery. Quartet Health utilizes AI for suicide prevention⁴ and with the recent funding of more than $90M, the start-up is supporting mental health.
Are you experiencing anxiety? Psychologists claim that anxiety leads to stress which affects the mental functioning of a person. Woebot¹⁴ is an AI start-up assisting patients facing stress and continues to serve more patients with the deployment of its AI tools. Founded at Stanford University, Woebot offers mental therapy solutions to patients and tools for managing bad experiences.
Tech Companies working with Emergency Responders
Suicide has come to the attention of tech companies including Facebook by working with counselors whenever suicide content emerges. Facebook added a feature for reporting suicide information⁵after which the company reviews the information for reporting. Emergency responders dealing with suicide work with Facebook by responding earliest possible.
AI at Facebook uses algorithms to detect suicide cases. Socialization patterns speak about individual characters and Facebook’s algorithms match suicide-related content and inform the relevant authorities. The Facebook AI tools scan through posts and the same applies to videos within a short time.
Facebook has engaged with more than 100 emergency responders according to the company thanks to their AI tools for suicide detection. These ML tools from Facebook work in a similar fashion to flag posts associated with drug markets and terror organizations. Victims of suicide leave traces of their actions on social media such as posts and videos, which assist Facebook’s AI tools to locate them.
This coordination has assisted in suicide reduction rates with other tech companies such as Google doing the same.
Google AI algorithms search for information from the web and diffuse through user content to understand suicide cases. Suicide victims use the web such as YouTube to search for videos about killing themselves and Google deployed machine-learning tools to detect such activity. These tools flag such accounts and bring this to the attention of Google.
The machine-learning algorithms⁶ at Google work by connecting social patterns and predict users with high chances of committing suicide. Google collaborates with health care institutions, psychologists and counselors to report suicide with much success.
AI-Powered Chatbots offering Counselling Services
Suicide happens anytime and sometimes human agents cannot manage to stay vigilant round the clock and this is where AI chatbots come in. AI bots are trained to recognize suicide and offer behavioral therapy solutions.
Based on the user’s emotional situation, AI trained bots understand the language to use in different circumstances. For example, these bots can engage with a healthy dialogue with those intending to committing suicide and counseling them on intervention measures. Human agents do better than a machine in such an instance because of empathy but these bots also offer ideas that users can implement to avoid suicide.
The algorithm detects the emotional, behavioral and psychological context of the suicide victim and offers psychological wellness. Many suicide cases happen at night when victims feel secure and bots respond faster compared to humans. Apple is using AI bots⁷ in their devices such as I phones to detect dangerous content and media related to suicide and reporting to health services.
The customized AI solutions from these bots make them a perfect fit for addressing suicide cases as they emerge. Apple is using Siri to offer customized solutions. Information about mental health problems found on Apple devices assists victims of suicide in the management process.
Mayo Clinic uses AI bots to analyze patient patterns and predict suicide. Based on patient data, these AI tools review individual information and predict those likely to commit suicide. According to Maya Clinic, the behaviors, medical history and social patterns of patients signal the probability of suicide and their AI algorithms⁸ assess these variables.
Mental Health Institutions using AI for Suicide Prevention
1. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
This institution consists of counselors and psychologists in mental health who handle emergency cases by offering counseling services. According to NSPL, mental health cases pose threats to the American health care system as more people commit suicide despite the current intervention.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is turning to AI technology for mapping patterns and reporting those with suicidal intentions. Manual checking of suicide cases according to NSPL takes time and AI solutions have assisted them in managing cases. The algorithms analyze patient information and alert them about those at high risk.
2. The Trevor Project
Mental health assistance remains a challenge in the US and The Trevor Project is doing amazing work assisting victims. The Trevor Project has a team of trained counselors who work with technology to optimize patient needs and assist those with suicidal intentions⁹. Anyone with a recurring mental condition is encouraged to call their toll number to get assistance.
AI technology used at The Trevor Project helps the organization to analyze and predict patterns of mental health after which counselors extend help. The technology works with these counselors to identify cases and follow-up on victims to ensure a smooth recovery. Their coordinated system and use of technology facilitates their fight against suicide in the US.
3. Crisis Text Line
Crisis Text Line applies machine learning to assess people with suicide feelings via their messaging service. AI algorithms search through user data by identifying messages connected to suicide attempts. The messaging service has trained its data to identify those with urgent cases and making their calls a priority.
Consequently, algorithms identify those attempting to commit suicide as part of their early preventative measures. With over 20M messages from users in their database, Crisis Text Line is using AI to prevent suicide rates. Machine learning algorithms used by the Crisis Text Line identify texts with harmful information.
AI is here to help us manage Suicide
AI and machine learning technologies offer an opportunity to address suicide.
From these use cases, AI is supporting the fight against suicide, because technology is saving lives. The numbers on suicide continue to rise with the CDC reporting a gradual increase in suicide among all states in the US in the last decade.
These trends could worsen if no action is taken to address this social challenge. Artificial intelligence supports the suicide management process by providing smart insights that enable prudent decision-making. AI is connecting suicide victims to emergency responders and saving lives in the process.
¹Suicide Rates, ²AI Start-ups in Mental Health, ³AI Accurate Results, ⁴AI for Suicide Prevention, ⁵AI Reporting Suicide Information, ⁶Machine-Learning Algorithms, ⁷AI Bots, ⁸AI Algorithms, ⁹Suicidal Intentions