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Teens' App Applauded For Helping Young People With Depression

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Next let's turn to a smartphone app made by teenagers for teenagers.

AMANDA ARELLANO: My name is Amanda Arellano. I'm 19.

STEPHANIE LOPEZ: My name is Stephanie Lopez, and I'm 17.

CHLOE WESTPHAL: My name is Chloe Westphal. I'm 17.

MONTAGNE: They're students at Tri-Tech Skills Center High School in Kennewick, Wash. They've created an app to help teens cope with personal and social problems.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, suicide is the third-leading cause of death for young people. It's something Amanda Arellano has experienced firsthand.

ARELLANO: I've gone through depression and anxiety before. And it's common in my family, and I've had a cousin who actually committed suicide because he felt like he couldn't talk to anybody about what he was feeling and stuff.

GREENE: Personal experiences and a school shooting in another part of their state led to the idea for the app. It is called Safe&Sound.

MONTAGNE: It's interactive and designed to recognize early signs of depression. The idea won a national competition and $20,000 for the school. Chloe Westphal says the app addresses all sorts of issues commonly faced by teens.

CHLOE: Stress, we have grieving, we have abuse and we have to report a school safety threat. If they have any knowledge of a shooting that might be about to happen, they can report it there. And then, the other one is crisis relief.

GREENE: Now, since winning the competition, the young women have gotten expert help coding the app for its public debut. Again, here's Amanda Arellano.

ARELLANO: I am coding the daily stress management, and it's just kind of how to deal with everyday stresses that come your way despite what they are, so, like, exercise or hobbies. We have a breathing exercise in there that plays music and daily inspirational quotes. So you can just tap the button and get a cool quote. It's no permanent fix, but for day-to-day things that you're kind of stressed out about, you can use any of those suggestions.

GREENE: This app is expected be available on Android devices in June. And today, the young women and their app will be recognized at the annual White House Science Fair. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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