This week marked World Mental Health Day (10th October). Discussions around mental health and suicide prevention have been pervasive in the media this week and, with 4,500 people taking their own lives in the UK each year, it's vitally important that these conversations continue.
There is a place for tech – particularly AI, chatbots and machine learning – in this conversation. This week saw the launch of HARR-e, the first “listening bot” specifically designed for to learn about men’s mental wellbeing. This joins other AI-powered solutions already out there to support people during bouts of depression or anxiety, such as Wysa and Woebot.
The potential uses of “AI for good” are endless. And with research showing that men are 300% more likely to confide in AI than humans about their mental wellbeing, apps like HARR-e and Woebot could have a hugely positive impact on the provision of mental health services across the globe.
But the wider answer could be staring us in the face. On average, British men check their phones 155 times per day, spending 177 minutes every day connected to the internet. A staggering 75pc of us check our phones in the morning before saying “morning” to our partners. Rather than demoan men for this “computer love,” why not treat it as an opportunity? Instead of saying: “men need to talk more,” what if we revolutionised the way we listen to men – and where we do it? Why not take this vital conversation to them, by putting it into the palm of their hands via their smartphones, tablets and PCs?