Founded in 1989, Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national support service. It offers free professional phone counselling and text-based mental health support in both English and French, providing millions of young people with a safe and trusted space during any moment of crisis or need.
It also offers a wide range of articles, tools and resources on its website to help young people through the challenges or experiences they might face. The issues these resources cover range from anxiety and stress, to relationships, bullying, depression and suicide.
With more and more young people looking for advice and support around such sensitive issues, Kids Help Phone wanted to make it easier for users to find the right content on its website. The navigation had to be as intuitive and user-friendly as possible, ensuring that young people in need can quickly get access to the most relevant content and resources.
With this goal in mind, we worked with Kids Help Phone to integrate conversational AI into its existing suite of services and in turn improve website navigation and the user experience. This centred around a bespoke digital assistant – named ‘Kip’ – to assist young people in finding the right resources when they need them most.
Website visitors simply click the digital assistant icon on the homepage and say what brings them to the website. Then, using conversational AI and Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms, Kip points people in the direction of the right resources. It recommends specific paths or content that are most relevant to the user, giving young people the help they need through a positive and efficient user experience.
Our expert team worked closely with Kids Help Phone to write the scripts and responses for the digital assistant and optimise them for the platform. The English language version was deployed in October 2020, followed by the French language version in early 2021.
And, following our comprehensive training and onboarding programmes, Kids Help Phone has all the tools and capabilities it needs to keep Kip up to date. Using the EBM platform, the team can easily add and update content or add new intents when needed – all completely independently and without needing any technical skills.
Kip’s AI and machine learning capabilities also mean that the platform will keep learning as it is used by more young people, ensuring that the user experience and quality of support continues to improve.
The digital assistant has enabled Kids Help Phone to provide support to a wider pool of vulnerable young people than ever before. It receives around 5,000 messages every week, and is promoting more active engagement with Kids Help Phone’s already engaging web content.
Kip has also acted as a foundation for future innovation. It has led to additional related projects – such as building a data hub to collect data from Kids Help Phone’s different services – with new features, integrations and navigation processes already on the digital assistant’s future roadmap.
“Introducing new technology and innovation has become a key goal for us, particularly following the impact of Covid-19, and EBM’s conversational AI expertise has been integral to this journey so far. We don’t want any young person to ever feel like they are alone. With Kip in place, more young people than ever can connect with us to get mental health support on whatever issue they’re dealing with, whenever they need it.””Sarah Mughal
Director, Service Innovation | Kids Help Phone