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Technology Leverages the Human Voice to Save Lives


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ATLANTA, GA, UNITED STATES, April 17, 2019 / -- This week, Behavioral Health Link (BHL) together with the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) announced a partnership with the US affiliate of Yokohama, Japan-based PST Inc. BHL is collaborating with PST Inc. to leverage the parameters of the human voice to support the professionally-trained BHL call center staff in understanding intensity of distress, an approach that may prove far superior to relying on the specific words and language spoken alone.

In collaboration with research partners in the lab of Dr. Thomas Joiner at Florida State University, responsible for analyzing the outcomes of applying this technology, it is our hope that this Japanese-based technology will add to our clinical toolbox and improve outcomes in the operation of a statewide crisis and access line. For example, the immediate feedback of real-time monitoring of emotional distress would allow call center agents to understand better if they are successfully engaging and calming a person in pain.

We’ll know better as we evaluate the application using the ground-breaking models first used in crisis call centers by Dr. Madelyn Gould and her team at Columbia University more than a decade ago.

Gould and colleagues silently monitored crisis calls and measured the distress of callers using a modification of the Profile of Mood States (POMS). They recorded data at the beginning of crisis calls, again at the conclusion and with consent followed up two weeks later, after an outpatient appointment or other service connection was likely to have been completed. Their research shattered myths about crisis call centers that existed at the time. In fact, callers in very significant distress were utilizing crisis call lines, and the most significant reductions in anguish occurred during the crisis call itself.

We’ll go one step further. This technology will make it easy to look not only at the distress of the individual in crisis but also at ensuring the right level of support for those call center professionals caring for them. Crisis services are very rewarding but challenging work, and we aim to improve the science behind the interventions and the measurement of outcomes in our partnership with PST, Inc.

About PST Inc. (PST: Yokohama, Japan) / PST Health Partners, Inc. (PSTHP: LA, USA)
PST Inc. (PST: Yokohama, Japan) / PST Health Partners, Inc. (PSTHP: LA, USA) has worked in partnership with the University of Tokyo to develop cutting-edge voice analysis technology currently utilized in Japan to detect emotional distress.

About Behavioral Health Link (d/b/a for Integrated Health Resources, Inc.)
“A Crisis Has No Schedule,” and that is why the caring professionals of BHL are available 24/7 to help individuals and communities in crisis. Bolstered by cutting-edge technology developed in house by our dedicated team, BHL has been featured in Crisis Now and has been a national leader in promoting access to and delivery of high-quality crisis care when and where individuals need it most.

About Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD)
Georgia DBHDD provides treatment and support services to people with mental health challenges, substance use disorders, and individuals who live with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The vision is easy access to high-quality care that leads to a life of recovery and independence for the people we serve.

About the FSU Thomas Joiner Lab
The Laboratory for the Study and Prevention of Suicide-Related Conditions and Behaviors at Florida State University focuses primarily on the study of the nature, causes, and management of suicidal behavior and related disorders (e.g., eating disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders). The goal of its research is to refine further and test empirically the interpersonal theory of suicide, as well as understand and prevent suicidal behavior in military and other settings.

About The University of Tokyo, Dr. Shinichi Tokuno Lab
The laboratory for the study of Voice Analysis of Pathophysiology at Graduate school of Medicine, The University of Tokyo focuses primarily on the study of diagnosis and monitoring the mental health condition (e.g. Major Depression Disease). The goal of the research is to verify the technology of mental health condition by voice from voice emotion technology from PST Inc.

Wendy Farmer
+1 706-799-0181
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