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Wednesday, Feb 14, 2018 at 10:56 pm

Live at 6 | New Mental Health App

Greg Bradbury Syracuse, N.Y, (CitrusTV) – A new app being made here on the Syracuse University campus is helping to reduce the number of suicides that take place throughout the world. The app, developed in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, uses a depressed patients’ social media to detect anomalies in their posts that could be potentially harmful. What separates this app from others that do similar things is that it works hand-in-hand with doctors to monitor their patients.

The app is made for those who are diagnosed with depression. It then connects their Facebook page to the app and the app tracks what they post and sends out alerts to their doctor if something seems out of place. The doctor then has the ability to look over the app and if necessary take action. Additionally, if there are no alerts but the doctor thinks that their patient has been suicidal then the doctor can tell that to the app and it will run back through its algorithms. In this way, the app continues to learn from both the user and their doctor so that it can be as accurate as possible and make sure alerts are sent at the right time.

Professor Chilukuri Mohan is the lead man on the development of the app. The idea started as a way to help those who are not able to afford great mental health services, but have a smartphone and Facebook. This would hopefully help make mental health services more widely available. He, alongside graduate students Pranika Jain and Siddhartha Roy Nandi, started the project about a year ago and are still working on it today.

“After meeting doctors, the point of view has completely changed since they were showing so much interest in this project so that keeps me motivating,” Jain said about the app. She continues to work and learn through its development.

Right now, the group of developers is working to get doctor’s signed up to test the app with some of their patients. The goal is to have about a year of testing and then to roll it out worldwide in 2019.

Currently the app is only available on Android devices, it was started on this because many people who live in poorer countries do not have access to iPhones. In addition, the app is designed for only facebook at the moment. Professor Mohan said the app does have plans to expand to other social media sites as well. The other two that are commonly used are Twitter and Instagram. He said that twitter would not be difficult to expand the program to, but Instagram may be a bit more difficult.

As the app gets more testing, they will hope to be able to get onto these social media platforms and other operating systems as well.

The app is intended for everyone, not just teenagers or college students. It will learn the users tendencies no matter their age. The goal is that with the help of this app, the number of suicides around the world will be reduced.