How AI Saves Lives

Published July 30, 2019 | 3 min watch

Only 1 in 5 youth with a mental health illness gets access to the care they need. We sat down with Nancy Lublin, CEO and Founder of Crisis Text Line, one of our grant recipients, to learn more about the impact they are making in the mental health space


Many individuals and families spend months searching or waiting to receive mental health services, while others are afraid to ask for help.

That’s where Crisis Text Line steps in to use artificial intelligence to provide support in the moment.

In the U.S., over 44 million adults suffer from mental health issues and the rate of youth experiencing mental health problems continues to rise. Yet, there is a serious shortage of qualified mental health workers. Crisis Text Line, a global non-profit organization, provides free crisis intervention via SMS message 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Under 5 minutes to receive human response

Crisis Text Line uses data and insights to better support people seeking help. When someone sends a message to the service, it is first viewed by an algorithm that is able to triage texters based on the severity their message. Leveraging AI, Crisis Text Line is able to analyze users’ language and escalate those who are likely in immediate danger, allowing high-risk texters to receive a human response in under 5 minutes, even during high volume times.

For example, through AI, Crisis Text Line learned that words like “Ibuprofen,” “Tylenol,” and “bridge” are four times more likely to lead to high-risk conversations than “suicide” or “shooting.” Information like this allows the Crisis Text Line team to provide support to people in crisis based on facts and data, rather than preconception.

Over 110 million messages processed to date

To date, Crisis Text Line has processed over 110 million messages, making it one of the largest real-time mental health data sets in the world. Their aggregated and anonymized data is shared on crisistrends.org, empowering journalists, researchers, school administrators, parents and all citizens to understand the crises their communities face so we can work together to prevent future crises.

To reach Crisis Text Line, text “HOME” to 741741 for free, confidential help, available 24/7.


About the RBC Youth Mental Wellbeing Project

The RBC Youth Mental Wellbeing Project is our commitment to support programs that help youth and families access the right care at the right time. So far, we have provided nearly $26 million in support to get kids and families the programs and resources they need.

We are particularly focused on technology-based solutions, and that is why we are proud to be a Crisis Text Line partner.

Learn more about our commitment to youth mental health.

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