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When the COVID-19 pandemic put school on a hiatus, Lavik Jain and Shivansh Nikhra spent the extra time on their hands exploring machine learning, a subset of artificial intelligence. It was then (when almost all interaction with others was online) that they realized some people were more expressive on social media, whether it be because of the lack of face-to-face interaction or the sense of anonymity.


Jain and Nikhra Developing SuicideWatch

After months of speaking to police departments, mental health organizations, and postdoctoral researchers in natural language processing, the two high schoolers overcame many technical difficulties and secured their first partnership with the Wylie police department. Partnerships led to connections, which led to more partnerships. Today Lavik and Shivansh are detecting and reporting suicidal social media users from North Texas to upstate New York. If you are equipped to help those with mental health issues, please consider working with SuicideWatch in our pursuit to end suicide.

Shivansh Nikhra (left) and Lavik Jain (right)

Whatever be the case, Lavik and Shivansh realized that certain people would open themselves up online in ways that they wouldn't in-person, even with friends or family. Moreover, so many of those suffering from mental health issues didn't know how to find the help they needed. That's why Lavik and Shivansh took a shot at training a machine learning-based model to detect suicidal social media users, so that they could be connected with help.

Working with Dutchess County in New York

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