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Biomedical Informatics Student Developed a Global Mental Health App.

Warning: discussions of suicide and mental health.

Currently, suicide rates are rising. Dr. Alexander Au, a current graduate student in the Biomedical Informatics Department, explained in an email that “suicide is a rising issue in our communities and is now a leading cause of death among our youth on a global scale. It is predicted that 1 person dies every 40 seconds from suicide and an estimated 25 attempts for every 1 suicide.”  Due to the dire need for accessible mental health care, Dr. Alexander Au has developed a global mental health app.

Alexander explained that the aim of the app is to “not only to diagnose and manage mental health but improve methods to better understand suicide,” Dr. Au further explains in an email to The Daily Utah Chronicle  that the app first collects “data on mental illness, suicide, and potential stressors or risk factors for different regions of the world. The second [it] provide[‘s] mental health services to assist healthcare providers in diagnosing and managing patients with mental illness using screening tools. Third [it has] a suicide risk assessment tool using a machine-learning algorithm to alert providers a patient’s risk and if further interventions are recommended.”

Dr. Alexander Au is a recent medical school graduate from the University of Utah. Currently, he is a  graduate student in the Biomedical Informatics Department. Alexander explains that he has always had a passion for helping others. “Ever since I could remember, I have always been passionate about learning and fascinated by creating things. I was pretty ambitious at a young age and started college at 14. Being the first in my family to attend college, I became involved with many opportunities that further fueled my dream of becoming a physician, including working with underserved populations at community clinics, directing the UNICEF campus chapter, and immersing myself in innovative research.”

In August 2019, Dr. Alexander Au presented the global health app at the United Nation’s 68th Civil Society Conference. After receiving international attention about the benefits of his app, he was asked to attend the World Mental Health Day. Au explained that he “was invited by organizers to speak at the U.N. Headquarters on World Mental Health Day. [His] experience as a physician, suicidologist, and innovator gives [him] a unique perspective and understanding of suicide, mental health, and ways technology can be impactful.” We wish Alexander Au good luck on his presentation at the World Mental Health Day in New York City.

If you wish to check out a video interview with Alexander Au, please go to our Facebook page.

For more information on Dr. Alexander Au, go to his Twitter and LinkedIn page.