What is iKinnect?

iKinnect is a shared mobile app for teens and their parents. It’s designed to help parents deliver scientifically proven techniques to help their teens better achieve their goals while reducing behavioral and mental health challenges.

 

iKinnect was originally designed to help parents better communicate their expectations for their teens and support their success throughout the day. iKinnect helps parents, for example, locate their teens, track their daily goals, and reward teens for their success. iKinnect helps teens stay on track throughout the day and automatically tracks the points they earn as they meet their parent’s expectations and daily challenges.

 

Its Evolution. iKinnect2.0 extends the original technology by building in powerful suicide prevention tools to reduce teen suicide. In addition to its original features, iKinnect2.0:

  • Teaches teens and their parents behavioral skills for reducing emotional distress and increasing coping

  • Guides the teen in building a crisis stability plan

  • Engages the youth’s supportive adults in helping during a crisis 

  • Helps parents learn how to talk openly with their youth about their suicidal feelings and thoughts

  • Provides parents and teens with messages of hope from people with lived experience.

 

While intended as a self-help tool for parents and teens, iKinnect can be used in conjunction with therapy or other services.

Why iKinnect?

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among adolescents in the United States (US) with 17.3% of deaths of youth 10-24 years old caused by suicide. Death by suicide has doubled in the past decade for those 15-19 years old.

  • Juvenile justice-involved youth are at particularly high risk for death by suicide: more than half of young people involved in the juvenile justice system report suicidal ideation; one-third report a history of suicidal behavior.

  • Black youth are disproportionately represented in juvenile justice and are also at increased risk of suicide, as rates of suicidal behavioral and death by suicide among Black youth have risen at an alarming rate, faster than other racial/ethnic groups

  • Juvenile offending, high school drop-out, and drug abuse affect 9-18% of teenagers in America, costing our juvenile justice system $194 billion annually.

  • A large portion of youth who engage in criminal behavior or drug abuse continue to have these problems as adults.

  • Low parental monitoring and inconsistent parental discipline are the two main risk factors for both the onset and maintenance of serious youth conduct problems.

  • Smartphone technology provides a convenient, non-intrusive way for parents to support positive youth behaviors, such as staying in school all day and avoiding risky locations.

Evidence-Based Features

iKinnect promotes teen health, wellness, and success by integrating evidence-based strategies to prevent youth suicide, reduce externalizing problem behaviors, and decrease recidivism while improving parent-youth trust and communication.

Evidence-based interventions included in iKinnect include:

  • Crisis Stability Planning. Teens build and and share out their safety plan for use during periods of intense emotional distress with urges to self-harm and/or suicidal ideation are high.
     

  • DBT Skills Training. Teens and parents learn DBT skills that focus on mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotional regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness to replace suicidal and non-suicidal self-injury with skillful behavioral means.
     

  • Wisdom and Guidance from People with Lived Experience. Videos of people with lived experience provide insight, wisdom, and support from their own lessons learned.
     

  • Youth Nominated Support Team. Teens nominate, parents approve, and iKinnect helps connect the teen with other adults to help support the teen during a suicide crisis.
     

  • Game Plan. Parents can set behavioral expectations for various situations and times of day and assign point values to each. Expectations and points earned automatically appear on the youth’s phone, and the youth is prompted throughout the day to “do the right thing".

 

  • Geofencing. Parents can set geographic boundaries around teen’s approved and unapproved locations.

  • Notifications. Parents receive a notice if youth enters or leaves an approved or unapproved area; teens get approval notices when on track, and warnings when not.

 

  • GPS Location on Demand. With one click, parents can locate youth at any time.

 

  • Gamification and Points. Gamification strategies are used to promote continued teen and parent engagement. Teens earn points for daily tasks.

 

  • Pocket Coach. iKinnect delivers parents and teens as-needed prompts for remaining effective, as well as videos modeling effective responses to difficult situations.

Built by Experts

Principal Investigators

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Chief Scientific Officer, Jaspr Health

With more than 30 federal grant and over 50 peer-reviewed publications, Linda is recognized as one of the world’s most preeminent DBT and Substance Use Disorder experts. She has partnered with Dr. Koerner on multiple ventures, including BTECH Research and Evidence-Based Practice Institute, LLC. and serves as adjunct faculty at the University of Washington. She is also principal owner of Portland DBT Institute, which employs 30 clinicians in two Oregon locations and Heal, Thrive, Grow Behavioral Health, Inc., a private practice group serving adults and adolescents.

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University of Maryland, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Dr. Schaeffer's research focuses on developing and evaluating family-based interventions for youth involved in the juvenile justice and child protective service systems. She also has worked to adapt Multisystemic Therapy (MST) to meet the complex clinical needs of two subpopulations of CPS-involved families: those with co-occurring parental substance abuse and child maltreatment (MST-Building Stronger Families), and those engaging in both child maltreatment and intimate partner violence (MST-IPV). Dr. Schaeffer's research has been funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation. She is an author on over 30 peer-reviewed journal publications, numerous scientific book chapters, and one published book.

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Chief Executive Officer, Jaspr Health

An expert clinician and trainer in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Kelly has spent her career developing innovative ways to close the gap between scientific research and how clinicians practice. Since co-founding her first behavioral health training company in 1997, she has given life to multiple behavioral technology ventures, including BTECH Research, Practice Ground, and Evidence-Based Practice Institute, LLC. Kelly is also adjunct clinical faculty at the University of Washington and the author of Doing Dialectical Behavior Therapy: A Practical Guide.

Consultants

People with Lived Experience Advisors