Local man creates suicide prevention app

When Don Wright founded Clarigent Health in Mason in 2018 after his son took his own life, his hope was to improve mental health and prevent suicides. His company is pioneering an app that uses artificial intelligence and natural language learning to help mental health providers detect suicidal tendencies earlier.

So how does it work? With permission from both parents and children, a therapist records conversations using the app and then gets feedback into their state of mind using language patterns compiled from a database of more than 1,000 suicide letters as well as voice recordings taken from hospitals and emergency rooms in the Cincinnati area and West Virginia.

“This could be the game changer,” says John Banchy, president of Children’s Home of Cincinnati, which has partnered with Clarigent to put the app in the hands of 20 therapists working with at-risk kids in more than a dozen local schools. The app, which has been used in therapy settings close to 700 times with about 500 patients, is expected to expand to at least 20 more therapists in Southwest Ohio in the fall.

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