How is your entry original and unique?
While it may seem impossible, imagine a scenario where a call to a funeral home could actually save a life. Every 12 minutes, a person in the U.S. chooses to commit suicide. When someone is feeling hopeless or alone, there is no telling who they might reach out to and in some cases they contact a funeral home. ASD created the Suicide - Telephone Operator Patch (STOP) System to give its staff a way to seamlessly connect with suicide hotline operators 24/7. It is the only answering service solution that has the potential to save these fragile lives. Although this is a rare situation, the emotional toll of these calls has deeply affected ASD employees in the past. ASD’s Tech Team set out to invent a telecommunication tool that would support its staff, give directors added peace of mind and, most importantly, help those in distress receive the help they need. By linking staff to suicide prevention operators, ASD can ensure these callers receive immediate counseling, guidance and support.
Describe the practicality and sustainability of your product/service.
While other causes of death like heart disease, cancer and motor vehicle accidents are on the decline, the suicide rate in the United States has been steadily increasing since 1999 and recently surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years. Funeral directors see the impact of this firsthand and understand the importance of asking, “what more can be done to help those struggling?” ASD created the STOP System after realizing that the company was in unique position to help those at risk of suicide to receive the support and attention they so urgently need. Funeral homes are not charged any fee for this extra layer of support from ASD because the system was designed solely to help those who are suffering. It is a rarity for a company to invest a great deal of time and resources into a new technology without any plans to make it profitable. However, ASD’s owners believe if this feature saves even one life, it will be worth all efforts it took to create it.
What is the exclusive benefit and value of your product/service?
The STOP System was created by ASD with a specific purpose of helping those who are at risk of taking their own life. These callers often have a very fragile state of mind and having the ability to seamlessly connect them to suicide prevention operators without any delay can make a crucial difference in this situation. While ASD Call Specialists are trained extensively on how to handle difficult calls, in the past operators have been deeply affected and troubled by conversations they have had with those who stated they were contemplating suicide. Now, ASD Staff have standby support 24/7 from experienced suicide hotline operators. Directors have greater peace of mind knowing that if someone in their community is having a suicidal crisis and calls the funeral home, they will receive the help they need immediately.
How does the quality and design of your product/service set your entry apart?
ASD’s STOP System was designed to ensure callers never have to wait to receive support. Call Specialists can press an emergency button on their keyboard to immediately alert a Suicide Hotline when they are speaking to someone in crisis. The call can be made without the ASD Call Specialist interrupting the caller or placing them on hold. The hotline operator will hear a recording alerting them that a distressed and possibly suicidal person is on the line speaking to ASD. This alert will instruct the hotline operator to press any key to be 3-way connected into the call. After implementing this system, an ASD Call Specialist handled a call from a gentleman who made it clear he was planning to take his own life. The Call Specialist was able use the system to alert the Suicide Hotline while continuing to speak to the caller until the hotline operator successfully connected into the call in progress. The gentleman was able to get the help he needed without delay.