Press Release: Akumen joins forces with EPIC to deliver TALU, our AI Mental Health Chatbot app

Bude, Cornwall, 9th March 2022 – Akumen Ltd today announced their involvement with eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall (EPIC), an ERDF-funded project led by the University of Plymouth, to accelerate the development of TALU, their ‘Empathetic Chabot’, a digital solution to reduce suicide.

Akumen has been delivering insights about the experiences of patients and healthcare employees for the NHS for over 9 years. These insights are extracted from human conversations and surveys using Akumen’s Hybrid-AI Text Analytics (HTA) engine, built with Human-In-The-Loop (HILP) Natural Language Processing (NLP). The HTA engine can understand human language to a granular level, using emotion analytics, psychometrics, and psycholinguistics*.

Akumen’s HTA is now being used to provide the artificial intelligence to TALU, meaning it will understand and respond to a human in a more human-like way, which increases critical levels of engagement and honesty from the user.

TALU will also use Akumen’s Mental Health module that understands the mental well-being of a chatbot user based on their responses. The software then interacts with the user, highlighting opportunities for self-management of their mental fitness as well as giving them the option to ask for help or intervention from healthcare services. The software is also designed to support the mental health clinician by providing patient monitoring, triage, and diagnosis tools.

“Mental Health & Suicide is one of the world’s most pressing and complex humanitarian problems in society today” said Akumen Founder and CEO Paul Howarth, “Underfunded Mental Health Services will increasingly find themselves unable to cope with overwhelming numbers of mental health patients. There is a requirement and the potential for AI technologies to help healthcare systems across the world provide digital solutions at scale to alleviate the pressures and provide solutions to this worrying Mental Health crisis. We’re very excited to be partnering with EPIC as their academic and commercial expertise will accelerate the delivery of our life-saving software”.

The digital scalability of TALU is designed to improve the service, save lives, and reduce costs at every stage of the patient pathway. Pre Admission – Admission – Investigation – Triage – Diagnosis – Treatment – Discharge.

eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall (EPIC) is a project funded by the European Regional Development Fund and is led by the University of Plymouth.  The project provides bespoke support tailored to meet individual business needs in order to assist with the development and testing of eHealth innovations.

Gary Jennings from EPIC says “EPIC enables businesses across the region in developing and testing digital health tech that can really make a difference to people’s lives.  Akumen’s technology has the potential to not just make a difference to people’s lives but to save lives and we are delighted to partner with Akumen at this stage of the product’s development.”

(*psychometrics = Measures psychological characteristics of an individual

*psycholinguistics = Psychology behind the use of language)


About Akumen:

Akumen supplies it’s next-gen text analytics and behavioural insight technology to some of the largest organisations in the world to help them identify and extract strategic and tactical advantage from the vast quantity of human-generated conversations that occur every minute, 24/7.

Using a novel Hybrid-AI NLP approach, Akumen provides new intelligence streams for decision engines and analysts that remove blind spots, forecast outcomes, and empower decision makers with evidence-based insight. Started in 2004, Akumen provides its services across multiple domains, including Healthcare, Consumer, Employee, and Society Analytics.

Please contact Andy Crouch for further information:


About EPIC:

eHealth Productivity and Innovation in Cornwall (EPIC2) is a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary project led by the University of Plymouth’s Centre for Health Technology.  EPIC centralises the valuable input from a variety of stakeholders across the eHealth ecosystem in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.  By providing sector-specific hands-on business support for local businesses to develop new eHealth products and services it will not only create new jobs and support the local economy, but create truly useful innovations which could improve quality of life and boost wellbeing for many.

The project is receiving up to £4 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 – 2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, visit