The free notOK
app, available for both android and iOS, lets the user ask trusted contacts for help when they are in a crisis. With the push of a button, they can notify up to 5 contacts. No need for the user to message them individually or worry about how to ask. The app does it for them. The app aims to help those suffering from mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. These conditions can make it hard to reach out, and this app helps solve that problem to get sufferers the peer support they need.
The app was developed by two high school students, a sister and brother. In her teens, Hannah Lucas was diagnosed with a condition called POTS which would make her faint unexpectedly. She developed a fear of being alone, worried about fainting when there was no one there to make sure she was ok. This lead to anxiety and depression. During one of Hannah’s lowest points, she was alone in her room wishing for an easy way to ask for help and let someone know she wasn’t ok. After she improved, she was able to take entrepreneur and coding classes to bring her idea to life. Her brother assisted with the technical aspects, glad to finally be able to help his older sister.
The app is simple to use. The user just downloads it and signs up. Then they designate up to five trusted contacts. These contacts, who could be friends, family members, or counselors, receive a text allowing them to either accept or decline the responsibility. If the user needs to ask for help, he or she just pushes the red notOK button and their trusted contacts are notified. The app notifies the user that help is on the way. Then the trusted contact can either text, call, or arrive in person using the GPS location the app supplies. Once the crisis is over, the user can press the green OK button to let all trusted contacts know they are alright.
Panic buttons for the elderly and people with severe medical conditions are commonplace, but a panic button for mental health crises is a new idea. As understanding of mental illness grows, we may begin seeing similar apps crop up. What do you think? Can you see yourself or someone you know benefitting from the notOK app?