Game app to monitor teenage suicide risk

Posted on February 2, 2015

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The battle against teenage suicide has entered the digital age as a Hong Kong company is developing a game app to identify at-risk teenagers.

Mark Altosaar, who has a background in education technology, and Jamie Chiu, a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at City University, are founders of, a start-up firm that is developing the app for teenagers as an alternative to traditional suicide risk assessments.

Chiu said young people often failed to answer paper-based mental-health questionnaires truthfully, while stigma surrounding suicide could make schools reluctant to address the subject.

"By using something that young people are already comfortable with, it can reduce that stigma and help the schools feel less afraid to adopt this new approach," she said.

Hong Kong's youth suicide rate rose to 8.3 in every 100,000 in 2012, up from 7 in 2010, the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention data showed.

Suicide is a leading cause of death among adolescents worldwide, according to Unicef.

The game, aimed at secondary students, will monitor a player's problem-solving skills, as these can be impaired by depression or suicidal thoughts, and report changes to teachers or school counsellors.

Category(s):Mental Health in Asia, Suicide Prevention, Teenage Issues

Source material from South China Morning Post