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About Project

The Problem Suicide

Every 13.3 minutes we lose 1 person to suicide.
40,000 American people die by committing suicide every year.
80% of people who seek treatment are successfully treated.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression. Substance abuse is a risk factor for suicide. 80% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully. It is estimated that there are at least 4.5 million survivors in this country. Social media is often used to express suicidal thinking but suicidal messages do not always receive a response. Identifying and responding to these messages has the potential to save lives. One life is lost to suicide every 40 seconds. The 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study identified depressive disorders as the second leading cause of disability. The total economic burden of major depressive disorder in the United States in 2010 was estimated to be over $210 billion per year, a 21% increase over the estimate from 2005. Social media is used to express suicidal ideation

Solution Proactive technology

ARKHumanity is a mechanism developed to pick up specific tweets from Twitter using keywords that are used by people who are in crisis letting the person know in a respectful manner that we care about them and want to help. This is an innovative technology that will allow trained volunteers and behavioral health care providers to reach more people in crisis.

Reach out to people on social media

ARKHumanity reaches out to people in crisis on twitter.

Machine learning algorithm

ARKHumanity utilizes machine learning algorithm to evolve search terms and classifier.

UI for intervention

ARKHumanity has a friendly user interace for the trained professional to connect to people in crisis.

Proactive Innovation

for suicide prevention

ARKHumanity derives its named from a concept that a tweet can be a call for help, like an SOS. SOS is a Morse signal indicating serious distress and a request for assistance. The word ARK came from the signals AR to mark the end of the Morse transmission messages and K to invite a response.Together these letters also form the word ark, meaning a place of refuge.Severe depression can bring immense suffering and isolation.To those who tweet an SOS we wish to respond with the principles of humanity - empathy, compassion, and respect.This is the origin of our name, ARK Humanity.

ARKHumanity mechanism is a project that was created during the first annual Hack4Humanity; this event was a part of the fall kickoff for Humanity 101. organized by Project Humanities(ASU) and Equality TV based on the 7 principles of Humanity. The team includes 3 ASU students, and 2 community members whom joined together to create technology for social good. At the end of the Hackathon, our team came up with the working prototype of “ARKHumanity” the mechanism system that would pick up specific tweets from Twitter using keywords that are used by people who are in crisis. Team ARKHumanity is the first place winner of Hacks4Humanity.


We have connected to several organizations committed to suicide prevention. Our technology will help them fulfill their mission more effectively. We continue to grow our partnering network.

This technology is greatly needed to identify the warning language often used as cries for help before suicide attempts. Using social media to identify suicidal ideations is a creative idea that should be supported!

Kelli M. Donley, MPH Project manager of Suicide Prevention, Arizona Department of Health Services

With 100s of millions of people online, this has high potential in saving lives.

Nikki Kontz, LMSW Clinical Director, Teen Lifeline


A group of people are developing an app that could prevent suicides by reaching out to those in need.

FOX 10 Phoenix