An AI that recognizes speech patterns on incoming calls to suicide hotlines to make an informed guess of your present emotional state before redirecting you to someone in a capable position to handle you.
In an attempt to provide mental health support in areas where it's not exactly easily accessible, I saw an on campus campaighn for a voluntary suicide hotline. The idea is great in principle and also in execution, save for the fact that the volunteers don't get intensive de-escalation training and it mostly relies on natural empathy.
Of course, anyone who volunteers means well but I think that there should be a way to direct the truly desperate to actual professionals or at least highly empathetic people that can calm them down. The system can also allow normal people to offer support casually by just listening or providing conversation without feeling responsible for human lives.
It could help more motivate people volunteer for such a program if they knew they wouldn't have to deal with a major crisis.
An automatic answering service picks up the call imediately and asks you how you are feeling. As you provide your answer, the AI picks up on subtle non-verbal cues in your speech and assighns you a priority level before connecting you with someone of corresponding ability.
The highest level would be unstable, someone who has reached the conclusion to end his/her own life and is making the call as a final attempt to convince themselves that they shouldn't. Connecting such a person to someone unprepared to deal with it could have ill consequence.
The lowest level would be passive contemplation. You are just thinking about it as on option maybe because you feel alone or generally don't see any hope for the future. Even talking to a friendly person could be good enough for you. For cases like these, anyone could just start a conversation with them and help them calm down a bit.
Everything else would be in the middle and volunteers could decide which level they wanted to help with. Those willing to help with higher risk cases could take a class on de-escalation helping to reducing the cost of training volunteers and making the project more doable
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