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News : A Year of Lockdown: Sadag Helpline Calls Have Doubled Since Lockdown was Announced

#contactcenterworld, @thesadag

Johannesburg, South Africa, March 25, 2021 -- Call volumes to SA Anxiety and Depression Group (Sadag) helplines doubled after the lockdown announcement. It’s been a year since the lockdown was announced and more than 500 000 people have called since then seeking help.

During 2020 the world was thrown into a new way of living due to Covid-19 and with that came many changes that hardly anyone was prepared for, resulting in high levels of stress and compromised immune systems.

Sadag operations director Cassey Chambers said before lockdown they received about 600 calls a day.

"From the beginning of lockdown our call volumes doubled to 1 200 calls a day. We’re now dealing with 1 400-plus calls each day, excluding e-mails, SMSes and WhatsApp appeals for help.

"The reasons that people have reached out for help have varied – the top issues include anxiety and stress, financial problems, depression, grief/loss and suicide."

Sadag received 501 412 calls for help between March 2020 and February 2021 and an additional 101 387 suicide helpline calls.

Chambers said the NGO had received more than 6 000 SMSes and more than 26 000 WhatsApp messages during the same period.

"As lockdown was extended and lasted longer than anticipated, the impact of Covid-19 touched on every aspect of our lives. People were losing their jobs, worried about where to stay, dealing with trauma and increased anxiety. Their mental health was triggered and people had relapsed.

"Since the beginning of 2021, even though so many people were hoping for a fresh start and a new year, it was a very difficult start for many people. With the second wave of infections and the high death toll, we were receiving more calls related to grief, loss, financial issues and anxiety about all aspects of life – work, finances, relationships, schooling."

Chambers said women accounted for the bulk of calls to helplines.

"Females are better at help-seeking behaviour for themselves, and at calling on behalf of a loved one.

"However, male callers to our helplines are more acute or serious cases that often need crisis intervention and support. Men are four times more likely to die by suicide than women."

Psychotherapist Noel McDermott says: "We know that common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression have risen as a rest of the pandemic as a whole and that these issues spike in lockdown.

"Repetition of stressful events increases the impact of the event even if it’s not as difficult as the first one, and the more repetitions, the greater the impact on us and reduction of our resilience factors.

"Know the signs that you or a loved one needs help, such as significant change in mood, eating and appetite shifts, constant tiredness, irritability, disrupted sleep and headaches, and get help sooner rather than later."

Tibb Health Sciences recommends the following four easy tips to help manage your stress, and keep your immune system healthy:

During exercise, your body releases endorphins and lowers the stress hormones

The endorphins improve your mood, and act as a natural painkiller. Exercise will also improve your sleep quality and confidence. If you can’t get out on the road or to the gym, a simple exercise to release stress from your muscles is to tense and relax them.

Remember to breathe

There are many different types of breathing exercise that can help. When the stress hormone is released into your body it increases your breathing rate, and to slow it down you can take deep, long breaths, hold them, and then release.

This will bring you back to your calm state and allow you to think clearer. Regular and relaxed breathing can greatly improve your health by regulating your heartbeat, strengthening your nerves, increasing your metabolism and settling your mind.

Sleep and rest are vital when dealing with a stressful lifestyle

Being in front of our computers, tablets and phones all day affects our quality of sleep, and therefore affects our ability to cope. Sleep should never be compromised on.

Think happy thoughts

Our mental state can affect how we react to things around us. If we keep focusing on the negative and don’t acknowledge the positives in our lives, there will never be a moment of peace. Being positive contributes to improved health and an overall sense of well-being.

#contactcenterworld, @thesadag

Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent

Today's Tip of the Day - Games Trainers Play

Read today's tip or listen to it on podcast.

Published: Friday, March 26, 2021

Printer Friendly Version Printer friendly version

2023 Buyers Guide Speech Technology

Premium Listing
Call Center Studio

Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.


VoiSentry is a voice biometric engine for speaker verification / identification. It is delivered as a virtual instance to be controlled by an application via APIs and can be deployed in whatever is the most appropriate environment i.e. public cloud, private cloud or on-premise. It is generally deployed as a white-label or OEM product, whereby Aculab’s partner integrates it into their own solution/platform and offers it as an integral part of their service. Unless they go public with it, none of their clients would even know that it was Aculab’s VoiSentry engine under the hood. As with any biometric speaker verification system, VoiSentry is language and dialect independent.

3.) Agara

Agara is an autonomous virtual voice agent powered by Real-time Voice AI. It is designed to have intelligent conversations with your customers, vendors, and partners without any assistance from human agents. It can handle a wide variety of calls including inbound customer care calls, outbound lead generation calls, appointment scheduling calls, and overdue payment recovery calls.

Agara is available for several industries including banking, insurance, retail, e-commerce, airlines, and telecom. Powered by advanced Real-time Voice AI that understands speech in real-time, automatically determines the right process to follow and guides the caller along in the process with natural conversation.

Call Tracking Metrics

Execute automated actions based on words spoken by your customer.

Our intelligent word detection and transcription tools make it easier for you to decipher the content of your customer conversations and automate action based on those insights.

Transform the audio of your calls into speaker-organized scripts so you can easily search your call log for specific words from a conversation, or automatically detect when words of intent are spoken by your customer.

Listen in on and highlight common patterns in order to execute triggers to initiate a new action or workflow, such as emailing a manager if the word “cancel” is spoken on a call. You can also set up to automatically redact content from a transcript, such as sensitive health information transmitted on a call.


Daisee builds technology that empowers people to solve problems by making interactions simple and smart so they can have a more significant impact, be more productive and be better at what they do. We believe incremental improvements carry huge potency and provide exponentially greater change for the better.

Genesys customers can now automate risk and quality management using Daisee’s speech and sentiment analytics and remediation workflow software. Daisee helps improve customer experience, ensure regulatory compliance, identify missed commercial opportunities & training requirements as well as provide valuable insights back to the business directly from the frontline – the true voice-of-...
(read more)


Advanced speech recognition and natural language expertise that routes callers by simply asking ‘how can I help you?’. It allows customers to use their own words to ask for what they want and steers them to the right place.

Menus are eliminated altogether and contact centres can use a single inbound telephone number.

MattsenKumar LLC

SmartSpeech – The Best In Class Speech Analytics Software

An all-inclusive speech analytics application that enables you to visualize your audio using state-of-the-art speech recognition, transcription, and text analytics technologies.


V-Blaze Speech to Text
Our GPU-accelerated, AI-based technology enables you to deliver greater insights to the contact center by transcribing audio into analyzable text.

- Transcribe large volumes of recorded audio quickly
- Integrate transcripts with your analytics or business intelligence platform
- Reduce your hardware footprint and minimize total cost of ownership


InTone Suite - Emotion Detection via Voice Analysis
InTone™ is a voice analysis tool geared to detect genuine emotional and cognitive reactions regardless of the speaker’s language or chosen intonation.
It integrates into existing contact center environments and provides realtime indications of both client and agent emotional reactions throughout all ongoing calls. This unique set of indications assists managers and call center representatives to truly understand the client, improve call center performance, easily detect angry calls, elevate training efficiency and provide a tailored customer experience in every single call.

Nemesysco's contact center technology is also available in API and SDK forms.
Please visit our website for information about our product portfolio.


Voxjar is your one-stop-shop for driving better phone calls with your customers. We're a modern Conversation Analytics and Call Coaching Platform.

- Custom Charts and Dashboards give you the freedom to analyze calls from the highest level down to the details of each conversation.

- AI-Powered Speech Analytics transcribes, searches, and analyzes your reps' phone conversations, at scale.

- Quality Assurance and Call Coaching tools let you evaluate and improve agent performance with a human touch.

- Long term recording storage for historical analysis

All of these together provide the holistic, easy-to-use software that you need to manage a modern call team and create better con...
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