Atlanta teens create mental health app for social distancing

 

We call it “social distancing”, but in actuality we are physically distancing as we are looking for ways to socially connect with our friends and family. When it gets to be overwhelming, it is good to know there is a digital panic button that takes the guesswork out of reaching out– meet the notOK App™®. This mental health tool, created by two teen siblings in Atlanta, immediately alerts your loved ones that you’re not okay and get the help you need with a push of a button. This app is perfect for any local COVID-19 support, mental health apps, teen mental health, tools to help you manage a crisis, lifestyle, entrepreneur, or any tech stories you might be working on.

notOK App™® is the brainchild of Hannah and Charlie Lucas, two inspirational teen tech siblings. The idea of the app came about when Hannah was diagnosed with POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) at the age of 15, a condition that caused her to faint often. As a result, she was terrified to be alone and missed 196 classes her freshman year of high school due to her condition. Being afraid was a permanent state of mind. She developed anxiety, spiraled into a deep depression, self-harm, and eventually attempted suicide. It was then that she and her younger brother, Charlie, started to search for apps that could be a resource for her in times of distress, but couldn’t find any. Charlie, affectionately nicknamed “Tech Support”, didn’t want to feel helpless anymore so when Hannah approached him with the idea, he put his nickname to use and they created their own – notOK App™®.

Mental illness inhibits a person’s ability to ask for help. We’ve all typed out text messages asking for help only to delete them because we didn’t want to burden our loved ones. The notOK App™® makes asking for help simple as pressing a button. Based on the science of peer support and safety planning, the user chooses up to 5 trusted contacts – these can be family members, friends, recovery partners, or therapists. When the user feels the pressure building, they simply open the app and press the notOK button sending an alert to their support group with a text message that includes the user’s current GPS location along with directions on how to reach them.

With almost 100,000 current users, Hannah and Charlie’s notOK App™® has been endorsed by Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation, Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Child Mind Institute, Beyonce, and many more. In addition to being mental health advocates, Hannah and Charlie are currently working on a major upgrade for notOK App™® that will include routing users to mental health warmlines in their area if their trusted contacts are unable to help, adding mental health screenings users can take to their doctors to get the conversation started, and mental health and wellness tips.

In this time of self-care, it is important to look after our mental health and it helps to have tools like the notOK App™® because while we are self-quarantining, we are not alone.

notOK App™® is available in iOS and Android versions, https://www.notokapp.com/.

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