Student View
Article

Press for Help  
Hannah and Charlie created an app for teens who are feeling sad, stressed, or lonely.

Vania Stoyanova

CCSS

R.1, R.2, R.3, R.4, R.7, W.2, SL.1, L.4

You Are Not Alone

When Hannah felt sad and hopeless, she wasn’t sure how to ask for help. Now she and her brother have created an app that makes it easier to reach out for support. 

    For the first 14 years of her life, Hannah Lucas was full of energy. She was a gymnast who spent up to 30 hours per week in the gym. She loved shopping and hanging out with friends. At home, you could find her goofing off with her younger brother, Charlie.

    Hannah was almost always happy. 

    But just two weeks after she started high school, her world took a sharp turn.

    Hannah didn’t feel well—ever. “The second week of school, I started passing out,” she explains. “It was terrifying.” 

    Doctors did tests to try to figure out why she kept fainting. At the same time, Hannah also started having deep, dark feelings she couldn’t shake. She constantly felt scared and helpless. Worst of all, she felt alone. Most nights, she hid away in her room.

    “I tried to tune out my feelings by watching Netflix and reading,” says Hannah, now 17. “But as soon as a show ended or I finished a book, all of my scary feelings would come rushing over me.”

    When she was younger, Hannah Lucas was full of energy. She was a gymnast. She loved shopping and hanging out with friends. She had fun with her younger brother, Charlie. Hannah was almost always happy.

    But just two weeks after she started high school, things changed.

    Hannah didn’t feel well—ever. “The second week of school, I started passing out,” she says. “It was terrifying.”

    Doctors did tests to try to figure out what was wrong. At the same time, Hannah started having deep, dark feelings she couldn’t shake. She felt scared and helpless. Worst of all, she felt alone. Most nights, she hid away in her room.

    “I tried to tune out my feelings by watching Netflix and reading,” says Hannah, now 17. “But as soon as a show ended or I finished a book, all of my scary feelings would come rushing over me.”

    For the first 14 years of her life, Hannah Lucas was full of energy. A gymnast who spent up to 30 hours per week in the gym, she also loved shopping and hanging out with friends. At home, you could find her goofing off with her younger brother, Charlie.

    Hannah was practically always happy.

    But just two weeks after she started high school, her world took a sharp turn.

    Hannah didn’t feel well—ever. “The second week of school, I started passing out,” she explains. “It was terrifying.”

    Doctors ran tests, trying to identify the cause of the fainting. At the same time, Hannah also started having deep, dark feelings she couldn’t shake. She constantly felt scared and helpless. Worst of all, she felt alone. Most nights, she hid in her room.

    “I tried to tune out my feelings by watching Netflix and reading,” remembers Hannah, now 17. “But as soon as a show ended or I finished a book, all of my scary feelings would come rushing over me.”

Lowest Point

    Hannah didn’t feel like herself for months. Often, she felt numb and empty. Then one night in March, she reached her lowest point. “I was lying in my bedroom feeling completely hopeless,” she says. Hannah worried that she might hurt herself. She wanted to reach out to her family for help, but didn’t know how.

     “I had written long texts to my mom, but always felt too shy to send them,” she says.

    Luckily, Hannah’s mom came to her room to check on her. When she did, Hannah spilled out her feelings through tears. Her mom held her, comforting her and watching over her.

    After that night, Hannah’s doctor suggested she see a therapist to talk about her feelings. That’s how she found out she has depression and anxiety. These serious but common and treatable medical conditions affect millions of teens. 

    Hannah’s depression and anxiety weren’t what caused her to faint. But these conditions can run in families and are often triggered by a big life event. For Hannah, that event was likely her new health problems.

    Hannah didn’t feel like herself. Often, she felt numb and empty. Then one night in March, she reached her lowest point. “I was lying in my bedroom feeling completely hopeless,” she says. She worried that she might hurt herself. She wanted to reach out to her family for help. But she didn’t know how.

    “I had written long texts to my mom, but always felt too shy to send them,” she says.

    Luckily, Hannah’s mom came to her room to check on her. When she did, Hannah spilled out her feelings through tears. Her mom held her.

    After that night, Hannah’s doctor suggested she see a therapist. That’s how she found out she has depression and anxiety. These medical conditions are serious but treatable. They can run in families. And they affect millions of teens.

    Hannah’s depression and anxiety weren’t what caused her to faint. But these conditions are often triggered by a big life event. For Hannah, that event was likely her new health problems.

    For months, Hannah didn’t feel like herself. She often felt numb and empty. Then one night in March, she reached her lowest point. “I was lying in my bedroom feeling completely hopeless,” she recalls. Hannah worried that she might hurt herself. She wanted to reach out to her family for help, but she didn’t know how.

     “I had written long texts to my mom, but always felt too shy to send them,” she says.

    Fortunately, Hannah’s mother came to her room to check on her—and when she did, Hannah spilled out her feelings through tears. Her mom held her, comforting her and watching over her.

    After that night, Hannah’s doctor suggested she see a therapist to talk about her feelings. That’s how she found out she has depression and anxiety, two serious but treatable medical conditions that affect millions of teenagers all over the world.

    Hannah’s depression and anxiety weren’t what caused her to faint. But these conditions, which can run in families, are often triggered by a major life event. For Hannah, that event was likely her new health problems.

Turning Point

    That night in March was the worst Hannah ever felt. But that night also gave her a great idea. She would create an app that would make it easier for sad or anxious teens to ask for help. 

    And Hannah knew exactly who to ask to make it happen: her brother, Charlie.

    From the time Charlie was seven years old, he had been teaching himself computer coding. When Hannah told him her idea, he immediately got started.

    “I couldn’t catch Hannah when she was fainting,” says Charlie, 15. “And I didn’t know how to help her with her depression. But when she asked me to help with her app, I knew exactly what to do. I was so happy to be able to support her.”

    Charlie and Hannah worked hard to create their app. It’s called notOK App, and it’s available for free. More than 70,000 people around the country have downloaded it.

    The way it works is simple. You enter the contact information for up to five people you trust. Then, if you ever feel lonely or need support, you press a button in the app. Pressing that button alerts all five contacts, who can show up to help.

    That night in March was very hard. But it gave Hannah an idea. She would create an app that would make it easier for sad or anxious teens to ask for help.

    And she knew who could help make it happen: her younger brother, Charlie.

    Charlie had been teaching himself computer coding since he was 7. When Hannah told him her idea, he got to work.

    “I couldn’t catch Hannah when she was fainting,” says Charlie, 15. “And I didn’t know how to help her with her depression. But when she asked me to help with her app, I knew exactly what to do. I was so happy to be able to support her.”

    Charlie and Hannah worked hard to create their app. It’s called notOK App, and it’s available for free. More than 70,000 people have downloaded it.

    The way it works is simple. You enter the contact information for up to five people you trust. Then, if you ever feel lonely or need support, you press a button in the app. Pressing that button alerts your contacts, who can show up to help.

    Although that night in March was the worst Hannah ever felt, it also gave her a terrific idea: to create an app that would make it easier for depressed or anxious teens to ask for help.

    And Hannah knew exactly who to ask to make her idea a reality: her younger brother, Charlie.

    From the time Charlie was 7 years old, he had been teaching himself computer coding. When Hannah described her idea to him, he immediately got started.

    “I couldn’t catch Hannah when she was fainting,” says Charlie, 15. “And I didn’t know how to help her with her depression. But when she asked me to help with her app, I knew exactly what to do. I was so happy to be able to support her.”

    Charlie and Hannah worked hard to create their app. It’s called notOK App, and it’s available for free. More than 70,000 people around the country have downloaded it.

    The way it works is simple. You enter the contact information for up to five people you trust. Then, if you ever feel lonely or need support, you press a button in the app. Pressing that button alerts all five contacts, who can show up to help you.

Staying Strong

    Doctors finally found out why Hannah was fainting. After they gave her the right medicine, the problem went away. But she still struggles with depression and anxiety. The difference now is that she has support. She sees her therapist regularly. She also talks to her family about her feelings. 

    Most days Hannah feels happy. She enjoys being with her friends, writing, and going to the gym. She’s found that exercise helps calm her mind.

    And she knows that if she ever needs help, she can instantly get it. All she has to do is press a button inside an app—an app that she and her brother created.

    Doctors found out why Hannah was fainting. With the right medicine, the problem went away. She still struggles with depression and anxiety. But now she has support. She sees her therapist regularly. She also talks to her family about her feelings.

    Most days, Hannah feels happy. She enjoys being with her friends, writing, and going to the gym. She’s found that exercise helps calm her mind.

    And if she ever needs help, she can get it fast. All she has to do is use an app—an app that she and her brother created. 

    Doctors finally found out why Hannah was fainting, and they prescribed medication that solved the problem. Hannah still struggles with depression and anxiety, but now she has support. She sees her therapist regularly, and she talks with her family about her feelings.

    Most days, Hannah feels happy. She enjoys being with her friends, writing, and going to the gym. She’s found that exercise helps calm her mind.

    And she knows that if she ever needs help, she can instantly get it by pressing a button inside an app—an app that she and her brother created together. 

IF YOU ARE HAVING AN EMOTIONAL EMERGENCY:
Don’t wait. Contact the Crisis Text Line by texting the word HOME to 741741. A counselor will help you find the help you need—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

ACTIVITY: 
Problem and Solution

You’ve just read “You Are Not Alone.” Now it’s time to do this activity.

You’ve just read “You Are Not Alone.” Now it’s time to do this activity.

You’ve just read “You Are Not Alone.” Now it’s time to do this activity.

What to do: In this story, Hannah sees a problem and comes up with a solution to that problem. 

Fill in the details below on a separate sheet of paper. First, identify the solution. Then, write in the details from the story that help you understand the problem and solution.

What to do: In this story, Hannah sees a problem and comes up with a solution to that problem. 

Fill in the details below on a separate sheet of paper. First, identify the solution. Then, write in the details from the story that help you understand the problem and solution.

What to do: In this story, Hannah sees a problem and comes up with a solution to that problem. 

Fill in the details below on a separate sheet of paper. First, identify the solution. Then, write in the details from the story that help you understand the problem and solution.

The Problem:

Hannah had a hard time asking for help when she was struggling with depression and anxiety.

Detail 1: Hannah felt sad, scared, helpless, and alone.

Detail 2:
Hint: What happened to Hannah one night in March?

Detail 3:
Hint: What did Hannah feel too shy to do?

Detail 1: Hannah felt sad, scared, helpless, and alone.

Detail 2:
Hint: What happened to Hannah one night in March?

Detail 3:
Hint: What did Hannah feel too shy to do?  

Detail 1: Hannah felt sad, scared, helpless, and alone.

Detail 2:
Hint: What happened to Hannah one night in March?

Detail 3:
Hint: What did Hannah feel too shy to do?

The Solution:

Detail 1: Hannah’s brother knows computer coding, so he helped her make the app.

Detail 2:
Hint: What is the app called, and how much does it cost?

Detail 3:
Hint: How does the app work?

Detail 1: Hannah’s brother knows computer coding, so he helped her make the app.

Detail 2:
Hint: What is the app called, and how much does it cost?

Detail 3:
Hint: How does the app work?d?

Detail 1: Hannah’s brother knows computer coding, so he helped her make the app.

Detail 2:
Hint: What is the app called, and how much does it cost?

Detail 3:
Hint: How does the app work?

Back to top
videos (1)
Skills Sheets (7)
Skills Sheets (7)
Skills Sheets (7)
Skills Sheets (7)
Skills Sheets (7)
Skills Sheets (7)
Skills Sheets (7)
Lesson Plan (2)
Lesson Plan (2)
Leveled Articles (2)
Leveled Articles (2)