Photo credit: Amber Laws
After 15-year-old Hannah Lucas was diagnosed with a medical condition that caused her to faint frequently, she became extremely anxious, depressed, and even began to self-harm. Out of her fear to potentially faint when no one was around to help her, she and her younger brother developed an idea for an app to alert one’s loved ones in an emergency situation.
“I started passing out more and more often and I was terrified of going anywhere,” Hannah shared with ABC News. “Because what if I passed out and no one was around or what if someone took advantage of me?”
Hannah and her then 13-year-old brother Charlie got to work on creating an app that they named “notOK,” to help others in similar situations feel less alone. Charlie put his coding skills acquired in summer camp to work while Hannah provided preliminary sketches and leveraged her personal experiences to flush out this pioneering resource. While taking a summer entrepreneurship class at Georgia Tech, Hannah pitched the work that she and her brother had done thus far on their idea and ultimately partnered with a Savannah-based development company to formally bring her idea to life.
The notOK app allows users to press a single button that will send a text message to up to five pre-selected contacts to alert them that the user is in distress. The automated text message will read: “Hey, I’m not OK. Please call me, text me, or come find me.” The app also provides the recipients of the text with the users GPS location.
“My goal is to make it a movement like the #MeToo movement,” Hannah shared with Black Enterprise magazine. “I want other people who are going through what I’m going through to not feel alone. To know that it’s OK not to be OK.” The notOK app is now available for both Android and IOS devices for a $2.99 monthly fee.
Congratulations Hannah and Charlie! Way to creatively leverage technology to bring awareness and aid to important issues surrounding mental health.