This 16-year-old wanted a 'panic button' for her depression, so she made one

(Photo courtesy of Hannah Lucas; Artwork by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle)
(Photo courtesy of Hannah Lucas; Artwork by Quinn Lemmers for Yahoo Lifestyle)

After being diagnosed with a rare condition that causes spontaneous fainting, 16-year-old Hannah Lucas fell into a depression so deep it nearly swallowed her whole. Rather than give up, the Georgia teen used what she learned to build something she wished she’d had: an app that alerts three people close to you when you’re in danger. The NotOK app is not only connecting her generation, it’s breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health.

Name: Hannah Lucas

Age: 16

Favorite app: Instagram

What she does: Co-founded the notOK app (with her brother Charlie), a “digital panic button” for teens. High schooler.

Three words she’d use to define Gen Z: Determined. Innovative. Problem solvers.

How mental health became her passion: When I was researching my target market for notOK, I came across more and more statistics about how most people with mental health issues don’t talk about it because they felt ashamed. And for me, feeling ashamed was the absolute worst part about living with anxiety and depression. It was at that moment I realized that I HAD to do something about it. I wanted everyone to know that it is OK to be notOK.

Puppy love #puppy #puppylife #puppylove #puppydog #puppycuddles

A post shared by Hannah Lucas (@queen_hannahl) on Sep 4, 2016 at 11:10am PDT

What she wishes older people understood about Gen Z: I wish that older people understood that technology isn’t the root of all evil and it isn’t only used for bad things.

How she thinks Gen Z will change the world: Gen Z kids don’t just accept everything someone says, but instead we listen and look at what really is happening and form our own opinions. We give the world a fresh new perspective and can sniff out BS when it’s thrown at us. I think the world needs this point of view so instead of seeing obstacles, we see a solution to not only that obstacle but others too.

Her greatest accomplishment (so far): So far my brother and I have been awarded three fantastic awards: MHA mPower Award, NAMI Young Leader Award, and Black History Blacks in Tech Award. However, my greatest accomplishment was being able to talk to a class at Google.

What she’ll be doing 10 years from now, and 20 years from now: Ten years from now, I’ll be a business tycoon. Twenty years from now, I hope to be a U.S. senator.


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