Friday, July 26, 2019
2:00 PM
Wegmans Hall 3201
Ph.D. Thesis Defense
Phyo Thiha
University of Rochester
Web and SMS Interfaces to Create and Share Personal Resilience Testimonials for Youth Suicide Prevention
Friday, July 26, 2019 2:00PM 3201 Wegmans Hall PhD Thesis Defense Phyo Thiha University of Rochester Computer Science

Web and SMS Interfaces to Create and Share Personal Resilience Testimonials for Youth Suicide Prevention Suicide is a major public health issue. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that over 800,000 people die globally due to suicide every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people between the ages of 10 and 24 in the United States. There are several mental health intervention programs designed for suicide prevention among school-age population. To our best knowledge, no existing suicide intervention program leverages mobile technology to coach youth to build emotional regulation and resilience skills that are deemed essential to prevent them from ideation and attempt of suicide.

We developed and pilot tested a text-message based intervention, called Text4Strength. Text4Strength raises awareness about emotional and social resources available to teenagers to cope with daily stressors. In this project, we have built and pilot-tested two essential components of the intervention program: an online interface, named StoryPRIME, to coach participants of the program to share personal stories that are in sync with the intervention targets; and a web application, named T4S, to deliver automated, keyword-based text messages and track the interaction between the health messages and the intervention program participants. StoryPRIME interface is a unique contribution in the space of mental health promotion because no prior work existed in eliciting personal stories from the target (student) population to be used as part of the suicide prevention program. T4S application allows researchers to automate the delivery of keyword-based text message sequences and follow up with the participants of the intervention on individual basis via a chat-to-text-message interface.

Advisors: Professor Henry Kautz (Computer Science) Associate Professor Anthony Pisani (Psychiatry and Pediatrics)

Committee: Erin Cherry, PhD (Advanced Intelligent Systems, Northrop Grumman) Assistant Professor Philip Guo (Cognitive Science, UC San Diego) Associate Professor Vincent Silenzio (Psychiatry, Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences)