According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, an average of 20 veterans or active service members die by suicide every day. Technology to help prevent suicide among at-risk veterans promises to address a growing problem. Foursquare’s understanding and identification of pattern-based changes that reflect shifts in mental health is the basis for an early detection and prevention solution created by Objective Zero.
Objective Zero, a 501©(3) nonprofit organization, has developed a mobile application that connects veterans to suicide prevention resources and a community of veterans, counselors, and concerned citizens.
Objective Zero leverages Foursquare’s Pilgrim SDK to deliver even more tailored services to veterans at imminent risk. The app uses a machine learning algorithm to identify deviations from normal behavior as a proxy for mental health, and then provides users with tailored resources to help de-escalate potential high-risk situations. Objective Zero uses this technology to provide life-saving services to individuals, in most cases before they even realize they need it, based on changes in a users patterns and real-world behaviors.
The right notification, delivered at the right time and place
For example, if a veteran who is typically active and gets regular exercise suddenly becomes inactive for several days, this may be indicative of a growing struggle with depression – a leading cause of suicide. In response, the app would recommend activities that are proven to help fight depression, such as yoga or meditation, or provide tailored messaging about mental health and local resources. The interventions that a user receives will vary in intensity based on the risk level determined by Objective Zero’s suicide preemption algorithms.
The power of contextual-awareness
Foursquare enables companies of all sizes to gain real-time insights into movement patterns through its proprietary technology that is up to 30x more accurate than status quo visits detection technologies. Several of the leading and most innovative brands in the world—including TripAdvisor, AccuWeather, and Tinder—are using Foursquare’s Pilgrim SDK to add location intelligence and real-world context into their apps and services. Now Objective Zero is using this “superpower” to help identify and support at-risk veterans based on their locations and movements over time.
‘The comprehensive location data we receive from the Foursquare Pilgrim SDK gives us the vital information needed for our suicide preemption models to detect red flags and determine users most at risk. Leveraging this same location data, we can push lifesaving geo-located resources to these users that are suffering from mental health disabilities when they need them the most. The integration into our existing iOS and Android codebases was a breath of fresh air, with clear and concise documentation we were up and running in no time. Together with Foursquare, we are closer than ever to our objective of zero veteran suicides.’
— Luca Ventura, Objective Zero CTO