Google.org announced on Monday that it would be offering its AI platform in a bid to promote mental health within the LGBTQ+ community. The tech giant is lending its services to The Trevor Project with the goal of suicide prevention.
Founded in 1998, The Trevor Project is an American non-profit organization dedicated to suicide prevention through free 24/7 crisis services via chat, text and phone. According to Google’s statement on the partnership, youth belonging to the LGBTQ+ community are four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers, while 50% of all trans people have made an attempt.
The @TrevorProject provides free crisis services to LGBTQ+ youth. We're providing an additional $1.2M grant, and a new #GoogleorgFellowship cohort, to help support the use of #AI in crisis intervention and suicide prevention. Learn more ↓ #PrideMonth https://t.co/UKyBCNWC7Y
— Google.org (@Googleorg) June 15, 2020
Owing to situations prevalent in the current global landscape, from isolation to political and social unrest, The Trevor Project has seen a surge in callers, sometimes outnumbering available crisis counselors. This is where Google comes in. the NGO will begin incorporating artificial intelligence into its services in an effort to reach more in need.
The platform will allow the team to use “natural language processing (NLP)” while looking at anonymized historical data, to learn which types of responses are most likely linked to a particular diagnosis risk level. The NLP model will analyze whole sentences to make an educated risk assessment, and persons categorized as being of “high” or “imminent” risk will be placed in a priority queue and connected to a counselor sooner.
— The Trevor Project (@TrevorProject) June 16, 2020
Adding onto its donation of $1.5 million last year, Google.org has committed an additional $1.2 million in funding to the project. This will be put towards development of conversation simulators as well as scaling up Trevor’s virtual counselor training programs.