Old School Phone Booths Get A Tech Upgrade To Help Bring Hope To The World

Hope Booth at PCM

Editor’s note: This article talks about mental health and suicide. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 to connect with a trained counselor, or visit the 988 Lifeline website.


Can old-fashioned phone booths be a modern day solution for the mental health crisis?

Gloria Umanah and the team behind Hope Booth think so. They are remodeling phone booths with new technology to bring hope and help to more people.

Umanah founded Hope Booth in October 2021. The booth’s 3 minute interactive, immersive experience utilizes targeted sound, breathwork, lightbox therapy and technology to personalize a user experience.

The technology strategically determines 1 of 19 experiences for the user based on the hope meter scoring and emotive word bank analysis features.

Users experiencing very low levels of hope, suggesting suicidal ideation or other forms of extreme hopelessness, are treated with more urgency.

photo of Hope Booth in action
photo of Hope Booth in action – From LinkedIn

The 19 90-second messages of hope and affirmation are written alongside their Science Board of psychologists, neurologists, and mental health experts. They are tailored towards specific topics and spoken by a diverse set of communicators (referred to as guides).

The experience finishes with the “support system” section. This provides information about support options within a 5 mile radius, including shelters, food banks, employment services, and immigration services.



Using technology to bring mental health services and hope to more people is crucial, given that hopelessness, anxiety, and depression rates are rising.

Hope Booth founder Gloria Umanah
Hope Booth founder Gloria Umanah

Hope Booth is personal for Umanah. The Atlanta native and first-generation Nigerian-American lived below the poverty line for much of her childhood. She said she overcame homelessness, fatherlessness, depression, and suicide before becoming an activist.

“The original idea [for Hope Booth] stemmed from accessibility. And as we were thinking about the framework, I started thinking about growing up in the city. When we drove around Atlanta at night it was really easy to locate telephone booths because of the light. I thought this is the perfect depiction of what [Hope Booth] is — a light in the midst of darkness,” Umanah told Hypepotamus.

Umanah explained how phone booths were traditionally a symbol of community.

“[A phone booth] was always going to be there. It was a resource that was always available. It was accessible to anybody, regardless of if they were in a wheelchair, tall, short, child, teenager, adult or what background they came from,” said Umanah.

In December 2021, Transformation Church donated $50,000 to the Hope Booth to sponsor their 19 cities in 30 days campaign. During this campaign, the team gathered initial prototype data for the product. The documentary “Until All Are Seen” chronicles their journey.


Last September Hope Booth partnered with Ponce City Market, a popular live-work-play development in Atlanta, to install a booth in the building during Suicide Prevention Month.

The installation was a huge success. Over 17,000 people have walked up to experience the booth, said Chief of Staff Quiana Grant. 57% of people who walk up to the Hope Booth complete the entire experience. Ponce City Market agreed to an additional three month install which will now run through March.

PCM Hope Booth photo
PCM Hope Booth photo


Hope Booth’s current model is based on sponsorships, donations, and a crew of high-skilled remote volunteers across the country. This year, the organization’s main call is to secure sponsorships to manufacture and install for the installation of 100 booths around the globe at a variety of locations, including schools, prisons, and street corners.

The team is looking to partner with organizations and volunteers to make hope accessible and free around the world for the first time in history.

“Hope Booth is built by the community for the community. It is truly built by a collective of people who say “you know what? I see and understand that every 40 seconds someone is dying by suicide. I want to be a part of ending that,” said Umanah.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamie Miller graduated from the University of Georgia with bachelor’s degrees in Journalism and Business Management. When she is not writing or working as a Business Consultant at Ernst & Young, she can be found reading a good book (anything from Harry Potter to Brene Brown), sipping an espresso martini at the neighborhood bar or hunting the flower aisle at Trader Joe’s. She aspires to produce diverse and valuable journalism for the world in the hopes that it inspires others to become lifelong learners who seek first to understand, then to be understood. Read her portfolio here