U OK? Friends Ask
Empowering Youth to Ask a Question and Save a Life
August 1, 2019
The notOK App was developed by high school student Hannah Lucas and her brother Charlie, when Hannah began to experience symptoms of depression in 2017. She wished there was a way to quickly contact her family and friends when she needed help. With Charlie's coding skills and Hannah's pitch during an entrepreneur class, the notOK app came to life with help from professional developers. The app is now available and will send a message to 5 selected contacts asking for help along with GPS coordinates.
Download the app at https://www.notokapp.com
The app, which is available on both Apple and Android, makes asking for help when you’re feeling vulnerable as simple as pressing a button. Charlie said he came up with the idea to help his older sister manage her medical condition.
Hannah, a sophomore in high school, doesn’t live life as a typical teenager. She suffers from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), a form of dysautonomia that causes increased heart rate whenever she stands up. Her body does not control her blood pressure or heart rate as it should. That means whenever she stands, she may not get enough blood to her brain, which in turn makes her feel dizzy and lightheaded. Hannah’s conditon led her to become suicidal.
As well as virtually presenting at the 52nd American Association of Suicidology Annual Conference in Denver, Hannah and Charlie are members of the AAS Youth Advisory Board. Inspired by personal events to help youth with mental health and suicide prevention awareness, the app focuses on peer intervention and understanding. According to Charlie, "peer support makes a difference".
Peer support has existed in behavioral health for decades. Its rapid growth in recent years is for good reason. Research and experience show that peer support specialists have a transformative effect on both individuals and systems. Peer support has been shown to:
- • Improve quality of life
• Improve engagement and satisfaction with services and supports
• Improve whole health, including chronic conditions like diabetes
• Decrease hospitalizations and inpatient days, and
• Reduce the overall cost of services