The Trevor Project, supported by the Google AI Impact Challenge, released the Crisis Contact Simulator earlier this year, a groundbreaking tool for training mental health counsellors. However, questions remain about how adept AI technology is at recognising context, which is vital to providing adequate and appropriate mental health care.
The Trevor Project, a leading American non-profit organisation (NPO) specialising in suicide prevention among LGBTQ youths, launched its AI-led counsellor training tool earlier this year. Trainees can now partake in sophisticated conversations with the simulator, supplementing their broader training around helping young people in crises.
A machine learning (ML) model taught the realistic simulator, named Riley, about syntax using natural language processing (NLP). Riley was then given a social backstory and was trained to speak in an emotional manner consistent with humans by using transcripts from previous role-play training activities.
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The growing mental health crisis
There is a clear need for improvement in the provision of mental health services. The Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the mental health epidemic in countries such as the UK, where, according to the Office for National Statistics, the number of adults experiencing depression in early 2021 was more than double the pre-pandemic level.
The use of AI in mental health service …….