When Hannah Lucas was diagnosed last year with a medical condition that caused frequent fainting, she felt scared and alone.
“I started passing out more and more often and I was terrified of going anywhere,” Hannah, 15, told ABC News. “Because what if I passed out and no one was around or what if someone took advantage of me?”
Hannah, who is just a sophomore in high school is Georgia, became depressed and started to self harm herself.
Hannah pitched the app while taking a summer class on entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech. Professors there were so intrigued by the siblings’ creation that they connected the family with a development company in Savannah.
Over the course of five months, Hannah and Charlie worked side by side with the developers, often over Skype, to see their idea for the app turn into reality.
They also compiled research on mental health statistics to make the case that their app would find an audience.
Mental illness is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. One in six U.S. adults lives with a mental illness, the institute reports.
Among adolescents, an estimated 49.5 percent between the ages 13 to 18 have a mental disorder, according to NIMH.
NotOK was launched this week in both iOS and Android versions. The app, which comes with a $2.99 monthly fee, allows users to press a button that sends a text message to up to five preselected contacts.
The text, along with a link to the user’s current GPS location, shows up on the contacts’ phones with the message, “Hey, I’m not OK. Please call me, text me, or come find me.”