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Zeal’s innovative Online Crisis Intervention project wins technology award

On Thursday 28th March Zeal’s Online Crisis Intervention project won the ICT-enabled community programme award at the 2019 CIO 50 Awards, recognising leadership in harnessing technology for social good.

What is Online Crisis Intervention (OCI)?

Waiting for young people to ask for help is not a good fit for how developing brains work during times of mental health crisis. So, like a helpline in reverse, OCI proactively seeks out and offers live support to young people experiencing crisis, where and when they need it – online. More than two years on, we now offer this support live on 5 days every week through Instagram, with a 30-strong volunteer team. Over that time we’ve supported almost 1000 people experiencing times of crisis.

Partnerships that make it happen

The Vodafone New Zealand Foundation has been our key project partner since we began. As well as financial support, they’ve been beside us at every level of the project, making sure we have what we need to keep developing our service.  Gravity Lab as our technology partner are helping us to start meeting the need that we see – they’re focussed on helping us to get the help that young people experiencing mental health crisis need to more of them, quicker. Additionally, they’ve been instrumental in helping to free up our volunteer team to work from home, making it easier for us to be online for longer.

The CIO 50 Awards

Held every year, these awards recognise the 50 leading technology and digital chiefs from around New Zealand. OCI’s manager Andrew Sutherland attended the Wellington awards breakfast with the Vodafone New Zealand Foundation manager Lani Evans, seen below accepting the award from CIO editor Divina Paredes. It was awesome to see what other innovations are happening with technology in the business sector, and a real boost to receive industry recognition for the work we are doing. You can see the full CIO 50 list here.