Wellington, April 2, 2014 – Social Code, a health tech start-up, has launched its Indiegogo Campaign to raise money for Code Blue, an app to help teens living with depression and bullying.

Following requests from mothers with teenagers experiencing depression, Social Code conducted research into why young people don’t seek help. One thing came through clearly – they can’t always articulate what they are feeling yet desperately want support.

The Code Blue app acts like a panic button; it immediately connects young people to a support crew when they most need it. On receiving a ‘Code Blue’, the support crew provides the teen with immediate support via text, phone, or by showing up in person. This video demonstrates how Code Blue works:

Social Code sought feedback on the concept from youth mental health organisations in New Zealand, US and the United Kingdom and tested the idea on teenagers themselves.

Siobhan Bulfin, Social Code founder says the aim of the app is simple. “It’s not meant to be a solution for depression, but it may be a solution to providing immediate support at a critical time of need”.

“It can be hard to ask for help, especially when you can’t describe what you’re feeling. We want Code Blue to make it easy. By simply pushing a button on your phone, your support crew is alerted and ready to help you immediately, no explanations required” - says Bulfin.

Depression affects 1 in 6 New Zealanders and tends to hit young people the hardest with approximately one in seven people in New Zealand experiencing a major depressive disorder before the age of 24. In the US, approximately 1 in 7 people experience a major depressive disorder before the age of 24.

Self-esteem generally develops in people between 12-20 years of age, which means teenagers tend to lack the resilience to bounce back from life’s blows – including bullying. In an age where things like cyber-bullying often go unnoticed, this can leave them depressed and feeling worthless.

Not impervious to the irony that Code Blue is leveraging the very tools that can contribute to and enable bullying and depression, Bulfin says “This is an opportunity to use technology to help mitigate some of it’s adverse use”.

Social Code has absorbed the cost of research, testing and design of Code Blue and have launched an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign (www.indiegogo.com/projects/code-blue) to help raise $25,000 USD to help fund the development of the app on iOS and Android so the prototype can go into real world testing.

Code Blue will be free for everyone, everywhere, always.

If you would like to donate or find out more, visit Code Blue’s Indiegogo campaign at www.indiegogo.com/projects/code-blue.

Media Contacts:

New Zealand - Sophie Gommans sophie(at)socialcode.io

USA – Siobhan Bulfin siobhan(at)socialcode.io

About Social Code (www.socialcode.io):

Social Code is a start-up based in Wellington and has received international recognition for their patient engagement and behavior change platforms leveraging social support, applied game design, tracking tools and professional advice. Successful products include GoalPost for smoking cessation and DrinkSmart, an app for cutting back on binge drinking.