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Frisco student Lavik Jain awarded national mental health scholarship

FRISCO (CBSNewsTexas) - Centennial High School senior Lavik Jain was awarded the Mental Health Awareness Scholarship this month by the National Society of High School Scholars.

Established to recognize students for their positive efforts in raising awareness, affecting change regarding mental health, and breaking down its stigma, Jain was one of five students selected out of 300 applicants. NSHSS, the organization that awarded Jain the scholarship, is an honors and scholarship program co-founded by Claes Nobel and James Lewis. 

He received a $2,000 prize.

Jain harnessed artificial intelligence, according to a news release, to detect suicidal messaging in social media posts. The AI would then connect that user in crisis with help. He called his non-profit SuicideWatch. 

In 2021, Jain worked with friends to develop an automated system that reads Twitter posts and flags suicidal messages. In 2023, they worked with mental health nonprofits, police departments, and crisis hotlines across the nation to provide help to the suicidal individuals they detect. In total, Jain has connected 600+ social media users with six mental health support partners, including Texas Health and Human Services. 

In December, Google executive Kelley Gibson reached out to Jain. As a result, Google is exploring making SuicideWatch an internally funded, tax-free charitable nonprofit, connecting Lavik with research fellows experienced in suicide detection technology. 

In the future, Jain said he plans on making SuicideWatch a scalable organization that can extend its arm of support across the globe.

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