San Francisco, CA, January 11, 2017 --(PR.com
)-- With teen suicides in the news on a seemingly regular basis, such as that of Brandy Vela, a teen who killed herself in front of her parents in Dec. after being bullied online, parents, educators and health professionals are searching for answers as to how to help.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines suicide as "a serious public health problem," stating suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24. A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that “people who were victimized by peers were more than twice as likely to have suicidal ideation and attempt suicide than their non-bullied peers[i].”
Patrina Mack, an entrepreneur and mother of a teen, is tackling the issue head on with K’Bro, an application that provides a way for teens to monitor their emotional well-being while also giving parents a window into how their child is feeling.
The app uses AI/deep learning technology with semantic search and natural language processing of emotions expressed to come up with a daily index score. If there’s a cause for concern, K’Bro alerts parents.
“Teens want parents to respect their privacy, while at the same time, parents can worry excessively about their kids’ well-being,” Mack said. “As teen substance abuse and suicide rates rise, parents can be at a loss for how to communicate with their child and get them the help they need before it’s too late. K’Bro offers a solution by giving teens a way to manage their emotions. They like K’Bro because the app is designed as a game. Parents like K’Bro because they can find out how their child is feeling without having to ask a lot of questions—questions often met with steely silence.”
"Innovative approaches like these are what we need to stem the tide of adolescent mental illness and suicide,” said Shane Owens, Ph.D. ABPP, a psychologist with expertise in suicide prevention. ”This app could help open the kinds of difficult conversations parents and kids need to have but cannot seem to start. I look forward to seeing the evolution of this intervention."
Childhood mental health disorders cost families and society at large an estimated $247 billion a year in treatment, special education, juvenile justice and decreased productivity. K’Bro helps teens and parents recognize changes in emotional health before they become serious by providing early indicators to facilitate parental engagement and other interventions.
K’Bro has launched an Indiegogo campaign to raise $25,000 for the completion of in-app features, testing and refinement. To learn more about K’Bro or to contribute to the campaign, visit K’Bro on Indiegogo. Levels start at $10 and range up to $250.
K’Bro, based in Menlo Park, California, was developed by Patrina Mack, a product marketing expert and mother of a teen, and leading AI experts. The app is a tool to give kids, and their parents, the ability to recognize when an intervention is needed by a trusted peer, parent or therapist. As the child plays the “Am I OK?” game or uses other features in the app, K’Bro anonymously captures data about a child’s emotional state that informs the “Am I OK?” index. K’Bro uses artificial intelligence to analyze when a child’s behavior is worrisome—and when it’s not. Parents can choose to subscribe to K’Bro to receive weekly updates and alerts with conversation starter tips. Actual comments by kids remain private, protecting their privacy and willingness to share. K’Bro is always free to kids so they will know for themselves if they’re doing OK and use the many features within K’Bro to build emotional resiliency on their own. To learn more, visit http://www.kbro.io/ or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.