We initially built a mobile application for AI-assisted text group peer support to help those with mental illnesses and substance use issues. Now, however, we see a tremendous opportunity in customizing the technology we have already built to cost-effectively allow every caregiver to receive tailored peer support so they never have to feel alone.
It's known that staying connected is a core-factor in the well-being of caregivers. Stigma, cost-concerns, and limited physical availability mean many caregivers can never access face-to-face support. Online text-based groups have tremendous potential in overcoming these barriers, but existing forums have no way to regulate the sheer amount of conversation generated, which is why sites such as Reddit are plagued by intentionally malicious users, or 'trolls'.
Our app makes group support scalable through artificial intelligence (AI). We’ve built a mobile app for text-based group peer support that allows users to text into a tailored support of 5-7 peers under a pseudonym at any time, from anywhere. Groups are moderated by clinicians or peer supporters sourced from a partner organization. These moderators are aided in managing group content by our AI tools that run on group messages and extrapolate the underlying emotional sentiment, automatically detect clinically relevant or concerning content (e.g. sadness, maliciousness). This allows us to leverage the ability of peers to generate economical engagement while using technology to keep peer-peer interactions safe and allow moderators to focus their time on the caregivers who are most in need of help, exactly when they need it. We have applied our platform to a wide variety of groups (our AI tools learn the slang and jargon between different groups).
Our team has built the first version of this app and its AI tools with the help of clinicians from Johns Hopkins (linked in this submission is the demo of our app at a recent pilot). Our goal is now to test and refine our approach through the OpenIdeo platform so that we can offer caregivers the best possible experience. We at Sunrise Health are also grateful for the support of Johns Hopkins, the Abell Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health.