One in five adults experience mental health challenges, and one in five teens will struggle with a mental health condition at some point in their life1. Vibrant Emotional Health works with families and individuals, including teenagers, offering support services to help improve their emotional and mental wellbeing.
Based in New York City, Vibrant, formerly known as The Mental Health Association of New York City, has been helping people for over 50 years. With almost 500 employees, the non-profit organization is responsible for administering state, city and federal grants and contracts relating to mental health services. Vibrant administers national crisis lines, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the Disaster Distress Helpline. It also administers a New York City based, 24/7 crisis contact center.
The organization engages innovative technology to help achieve its mission. “Our contact centers leverage the latest technologies to help connect people with counselors when, where and however they want to — whether that’s by call, text, chat or other online services,” explains Morgan Baker, IT Director at Vibrant Emotional Health.
Vibrant relies on a robust infrastructure to provide high quality and high tech services to people who rely on the organization’s supports. Recognizing the need for reliable and effective resources, Vibrant turned to an AWS environment. “We decided to move to public cloud in 2016,” comments Baker. “But to get the most from the cloud and to make the right decisions, we looked for guidance and skills from external experts.”
If someone wants our help, it’s usually an immediate need — we can’t just ask them to call back tomorrow because the service is down. With failover to the cloud, we can provide continuous assistance.
IT Director Vibrant Emotional Health
Optimizing the AWS Environment
Vibrant Emotional health started working with Hitachi Vantara in July 2016 to optimize its AWS environment. “We looked at a few vendors, but Hitachi Vantara brought the technical expertise to create a system to enable Vibrant to best support the people we serve,” comments Baker.
The partnership was initially project-based, with the Hitachi Vantara team helping to create and populate a data warehouse in AWS. Much of Vibrant Emotional Health’s data is sensitive and regulated under the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Privacy Rule. “To ensure our information remains safe, Hitachi Vantara helped us establish the security and encryption we needed for our data warehouse,” explains Baker. “The team also set up the ability to push data in real time between the call centers and the data warehouse for centralized performance analysis.”
Following the success of the project, Vibrant enlisted Hitachi Vantara’s assistance under a managed services agreement. As part of the service, Hitachi Vantara provides 24/7 monitoring, running security audits, sharing best practices, recommending changes, maintenance and patching.
In addition to the data warehouse, Hitachi Vantara also helped Vibrant to establish a hybrid cloud solution for its contact center systems. The software is hosted on-premise, as well as replicated in the public cloud. In the event of a significant outage or incident, the system will seamlessly failover to run from AWS, minimizing disruption to the organization’s vital call center operations. Vibrant’s website and other digital platforms are also hosted within the public cloud environment.
Safeguarding the Availability of Vital Mental Health Services
Hosting Vibrant’s data warehouse and call center disaster recovery solution on AWS enables the organization to keep its vital services running continuously. “If someone wants our help, it’s usually an immediate need — we can’t ask them to call back tomorrow because the service is down,” comments Baker. “With failover to the cloud, we are able to provide continuous assistance.”
The real-time data push to the organization’s data warehouse allows Vibrant’s management team to monitor call volumes and other key performance indicators. If a particular center is receiving a higher than normal call volume, calls can be re-routed or additional assistance provided, which safeguards the caller experience and reduces the stress on employees.
The partnership with Hitachi Vantara also helps the organization keep its cloud costs allocated appropriately and on budget. “Due to the nature of our funding, which usually comes from various grants, it can be challenging to allocate costs,” explains Baker. “The Hitachi team ensures we have complete transparency of how much we’re spending. Their regular review of our AWS environment and resulting recommendations, help us do more with our budget.”
With AWS and Hitachi Vantara, the organization can also reduce the management burden on the internal IT team, simplify compliance with regulations and scale easily to meet its goals. “By tapping into Hitachi Vantara’s vast knowledge and skills to optimize our AWS environment, we can use technology to help us achieve our vision of helping people achieve mental and emotional wellbeing with dignity and respect,” concludes Baker.
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