Inaugurate HN: Koko (YC W22 Nonprofit) – On-line Suicide Prevention Kit

Hi! My name is Rob and I’m working with my cofounder Kareem on Koko ( We’re a nonprofit that provides free digital mental health services to millions of people struggling online — particularly adolescents.Today, we are launching our Online Suicide Prevention Kit ( The goal is to help social networks and online communities better support…


Hi! My name is Pick and I’m working with my cofounder Kareem on Koko ( We’re a nonprofit that gives free digital mental health companies and products to millions of alternative folks struggling online — namely youngsters.

This day, we’re launching our On-line Suicide Prevention Kit ( The aim is to help social networks and online communities better crimson meat up at-risk other folks on their platforms.

Many social platforms possess built-in lists of key phrases that detect mental health-related search phrases (e.g., “self-harm” or “depression”). There might be already an established put collectively to suppress lisp material or ground disclaimers for such searches. Search “suicide” on most platforms and also you’ll no longer lower than find proven a 1-800 number.

But there are just a few complications with this. The keyword lists continually possess evident omissions. Millions of younger adults can peaceable without problems find awful lisp material, much like be taught how to self-harm or cancel themselves. And whereas some platforms redirect users to “emotional crimson meat up” pages, the sources offered are most frequently underwhelming and shortage proof-depraved. The most typical potential is to effect an overwhelming checklist of crisis strains (which isn’t namely purposeful to any individual who might presumably maybe also already be overwhelmed themselves).

Here’s our solution: Now we possess a privateness-first native library designed for social networks, streaming companies and products, online communities, boards, and many others. It catches common search phrases admire “cancel myself”, “downhearted” or “thinspiration”, as effectively as an sizable long-tail of slang phrases and evasive language (e.g., “sewerslide” or “an0rex1a”).

The library is written in Rust and suits in under a microsecond. It has language bindings to Python, Toddle, and Ruby, and all assorted basic runtimes are coming quickly. Our key phrases are sourced from over 12okay identified crisis posts and are hand-curated by social and clinical psychologists on our workers. We additionally use textual lisp material mills admire GPT-3 to amplify these lists with assorted key phrases beyond our particular person-generated corpus. The phrases are updated on a frequent foundation in step with new patterns that emerge on our crimson meat up platform, as effectively as co-listed phrases on sizable social platforms.

We additionally present proof-based mostly mostly mental health interventions and sources, to help supplement what online platforms might presumably maybe also already present (though, frankly, many attain in actual fact nothing). Our interventions might presumably maybe even be accessed online, without cost, without needing to download an app. We present users with online leer crimson meat up, self-guided mini courses, crisis triage, and many others. Now we possess published seven reviewed papers on these interventions and now we possess two more in prep now. In a randomized managed trial with Harvard, our companies and products elevated the conversion fee to crisis strains by 23%.*

This mix —search detection + proof-based mostly mostly online interventions — permits us to attach users where they are, correct in the indicate time they are reaching out for help. As an alternate of revealing a particular person an advert or, at worst, immoral lisp material, we are able to lisp sources which can presumably maybe be in actuality purposeful. Now we possess seen youngsters glimpse “proanorexia” lisp material, then click on our banner, then steal with our courses, and then lisp marked enchancment in physique image thought and an even bigger motivation to find help offline.

Our library collects no recordsdata and our interventions are nameless (we attain no longer accumulate emails, usernames, IP addresses, phone numbers, and many others).

On-line platforms are closely (and rightly) criticized for contributing to the childhood mental health crisis. But what’s lacking from the dialogue is how these platforms are uniquely positioned to achieve something about it. Every day, millions of alternative folks are crying out for help and the most any individual does is throw up a 1-800 number or offer suggestions to “dart cling a stroll” or “reach out to a buddy.”

Fortunately, now we possess partnered with just a few sizable social networks which can presumably maybe be desirous to take hang of the following step. We in the indicate time are helping over 12,000 other folks a month with this potential. For users who total our online interventions, we be taught about important improvements all the plan in which thru clinical outcomes, including hopelessness, physique image thought, and self-hatred.

This no doubt won’t help everyone and nothing can change affirm human-to-human connection. Some at-risk users need a ways bigger than we are able to ever give them with our potential. But it surely does help another folks in profound ways, and that inspires us to support going.

Koko is something I started whereas I became as soon as a graduate pupil at MIT. I became as soon as severely downhearted on the time, so I hacked collectively assorted applied sciences to administer my get mental health, as a mode to non-public the gaps between lessons with my therapist. That became as soon as nearly ten years ago. I now possess a kid of my get and I will be taught about him battle emotionally, legal as I did.

Suicide charges for teenagers possess elevated dramatically over the final decade.Since 2019, the velocity of suspected suicides for ladies weak 12-17 has elevated by over 50% [3].There might be nothing more monstrous to me than the considered a teenager death by suicide. If we are able to help avert no longer lower than one tragedy, it’ll be worth it.

We need your crimson meat up. Whenever you occur to work at a big platform, and even whenever you occur to legal possess a small Discord server or subreddit, you potentially can also help us by attempting out our equipment:

And please donate! Whenever you occur to care about this declare, please crimson meat up us:

Whenever you occur to work at a big social network, and even whenever you occur to legal possess a small online community (a Discord server, a subreddit), we mediate our sources might presumably maybe even be purposeful. But we’re outlandish if there are assorted alternatives we haven’t considered. We would take care of your suggestions on what we’re building, and any technical suggestions that can presumably maybe also help crimson meat up it.

Happy to effect references in the feedback – legal ask



“Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and thoughts, you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.”
― Lao Tzu, Tao Te ChingBio: About: