notOK App®

Mental illness inhibits a person's ability to ask for help, notOK® is a mental health app that takes the guesswork out of asking for help.

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  • Education

Are you employed by T-Mobile or related to an employee of T-Mobile?

  • No

Eligibility: Date of Birth


Help us stay in touch!

(404) 944-9297 5117 Sherwood Way GA: Cumming (30040)

Website or social media url(s) (optional): @notOKapp on all social media

Date You Started Your Project Started


Project Stage: Select the description below that best applies to your approach.

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

1. The Problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

According to NAMI, 1 in 5 adults in America experience mental illness in a given year. About 1 in 5 people between ages 13 and 18 will experience a severe mental disorder at some point in their lives. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 10–34. Untreated mental illness can lead to higher rates of unemployment, homelessness, and drug and alcohol abuse.

2. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

The first step in treating mental illness or loneliness is to get help. Unfortunately, mental illness inhibits a person's ability to ask for help. We have all been there--typed out a text message asking for emotional or physical support, only to delete it before sending. notOK App® is a digital panic button to get you immediate support via text, phone call, or GPS location when you’re struggling to reach out. With a simple press of a button, users receive peer support from their trusted contacts by alerting the user’s friends, family, therapist, or recovery specialist that they are notOK and need help with a text message that says, "Hey, I'm not okay. Please call, text, or come check up on me." There is no intake survey. There is no fee. Based on the proven science of mental health safety plans and peer support, reaching out is as easy as pressing one button. To date, we have over 80,000 users who have sent over 52,000 notOK Alerts to receive the help they so need!

3. Personal Journey: What’s the story behind why you decided to start this project?

I came up with the idea of the notOK App® during 9th grade after struggling with a chronic illness called POTS that makes me faint. I fainted all the time: in class, in the bathroom, etc. I eventually became "that girl" at school and had my own code blue, wheelchair, and special corner in the nurse's office at school. I missed over 200 classes my freshman year alone and went from a competitive gymnast who could do anything with her body, to someone who could barely walk most days. I was bullied, threatened, and sexually harassed by boys in my engineering class who found out I fainted. Eventually, I spiraled into a deep depression and tried to end my own life. I remember thinking all I wanted was an app that would let my friends and family know I was not okay. Upon learning about my suicide attempt, my younger and super nerdy brother, Charlie, helped me create what is now notOK App®

4. Selfie Elevator Pitch: Include 1-minute video that answers the following “I am stepping up to make change because...”

I am stepping up to make change because I almost died and don't want anyone else to feel so alone and unable to ask for help that they take their own life. Mental illness inhibits a person's ability to ask for help. With over 80,000 users and growing, my notOK App® takes the guesswork out of asking for help. Instead of typing out a text message to only delete it before sending, notOK App is super simple. With just one button press, a user's peer support team is notified and can provide help.

5. Example: Please walk us through a specific example of what happens when a person or group gets involved with your project.

Here are some user reviews: "Best app ever!!!!! This is the best app ever if you have someone that is suffering from anxiety or depression! Saved my daughters life the other day when she pushed her “not ok” button instead of jumping out her open bedroom window. We were able to get to her from downstairs and get her some extensive help!!! Thank you for creating this app!!!!" User Review: "As a teen with a lot of mental illness, utalizing mental health apps been a literal lifesaver for me and many others. It creates communities for people struggling with life across the world to become friends and help each other cope with the difficulties of the human condition. Meeting those people has changed my life, and helping them has given me purpose in a life that I often feel has no meaning."

6. The X Factor: What is different about your project compared to other programs or solutions already out there?

A similar app is the My3 App. It's a wonderful tool for safety planning. notOK App® takes it one step further by implementing the automatic SMS text feature to the user's trusted contacts, instead of just having the contacts listed within the app and putting the burden on the user to decide to call or text them and tell them something is not quite right. We've basically digitized and automated a mental health safety plan. While the notOK App® is for anyone who is not okay, we've found it used more by teenagers and college students who struggle with loneliness and mental illness.

7. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Since launching January 2018, we've had over 80,000 user download and use notOK App® and they've sent over 52,000 notOK Alerts to notify their friends, family, therapist, or recovery partner that they're not okay and need help. We've also traveled over 60,000 miles as mental health advocates by lobbying our local and national representatives, speaking at conferences, raising awareness through social media campaigns, and visiting schools and colleges to let kids know that it's okay to ask for help. We've partnered with Mental Health America, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Crisis Text Line, Lady Gaga's Born This Way Foundation, and we're youth advisory board members for the American Association on Suicidology. We have plans to expand globally to the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada, and Nigeria in 2020, with an estimated projection of 600,000 users by the end of 2020.

8. What’s Next: What are your ideas for taking your project to the next level?

Our future growth for the next 12 months includes the following: • Adding Mental Health America Mental Health Screenings— evidence-based screenings users can take to their physicians to get the conversation started for potential treatment. • Emergency/Warmline integration— if all 5 trusted contacts indicate they are unable to respond or no response is given, users will routed to their state-specific mental health warmline or Crisis Text Line, if no local line exists • Adding push notifications with inspirational messages • Adding a brief intake form to collect stats/data. • Spanish + French translations. • Expansion to Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland, Nigeria • Updating website to include trusted contacts resources

9. Which of the following types of expertise would be most useful for you?

  • Project Plan & Strategy

10. Finances: If applicable, have you mobilized any of the following resources so far?

  • Friend support
  • Family support
  • Mentors/advisors
  • Donations less than $100
  • Donations between $1k-$5k

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 1 [optional] Which of the following categories do you identify with?

  • Black or African American (for example: African American, Jamaican, Haitian, Nigerian, Ethiopian, Somalian, etc) (8)

Help Us Support Diversity! Part 2 [optional] Do you identify as part of any of the following underrepresented communities?

  • Communities of color
  • LGBTQ community

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Participated in previous Ashoka challenges
  • Ashoka page or contact

1 comment

Join the conversation:

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Wow! You guys seem really committed towards creating a safety network for people with mental health issues and I think that's wonderful. I love the fact that you guys have already had so many people use and benefit from the app as well. Keep going!