Mental health disorders are not a new thing for us and have been an age-old problem. But the condition has worsened over the last 6 months with the outbreak of the virus globally. With the isolation and being distant from your closed ones, there had been several rising cases of depression, anxiety, frustration, insomnia, and anger, and it owes mainly to the chemical imbalances happening. The same has been seen before when people were kept isolated for various reasons. Collective concerns influence daily behaviors, economy, prevention strategies, and decision-making from policymakers, health organizations, and medical centers, which can weaken strategies of COVID-19 control and lead to more morbidity and mental health needs at a global level. We cannot blame anyone since, during such crisis periods, we tend to seek out event-related information to stay informed of what is happening. And in such scenarios, social media is one of the most sought out choices, which in turn is the hub of fake news or contents with misleading information, giving rise to tensions.
Those who have direct contact via phone text messages and use social media for critical updates during the lockdown are exposed to more conflicting information and stress. Also, higher acute stress was reported by heavy social media users. In fact, fear of uncertainty and unpredictability leads to higher anxiety levels in both healthy people and those with pre-existing mental health problems. Moreover, mental health consultancy is expensive and not everyone can afford it regularly when there is already a huge financial crisis. Seeing such troubling situations, 3 African-American college mates took the chance and tried to extend their helping hands with the help of technology. Former Lincoln University students launched a new mental health app called Elevate for both Android and IOS platforms. Elevate has grabbed a position under the most popular category on the Play Store and App Store. But you must be wondering how this app is different from the long list of mental health apps? After researching for months, CEO and co-founder Aaron Warrick found that most apps do not serve what is most demanded and sought by the public. Hence, they have prepared this all-in-one app where a user can find daily inspirational quotes, readings, self-improving challenges, interactive videos, podcasts, and even mental health hotlines that will not only entertain you but also will uplift your inner spirits.
Even though the app is made to keep the target audience in mind, yet most of the research is done on the basis of the African-American community. And it is also reasonable to support business start-ups by the Black community when the whole of the United States of America roared up against the police brutality of the Blacks, and it is high time we should support them in every way possible. Warrick has also a background in computer engineering and software development. Elevate has been developed with the help of experts coming from marginalized communities, especially people of color. The team did give attention to every subtle detail and kept an eye on the content. Warrick said, “While there are other similar apps out there, the way they produce content and the content available may not be the best solutions for us because they don’t go through the same or similar problems.” Mental health disorders are one of the dominant problems in the era of medical science and yet the most ignored and taken for granted treatment. Unlike other illnesses, where we consult the doctors at one, we generally tend to brush off our mental illness as a “phase”, and think that they will go away anytime soon. And unfortunately, most of the time, that is not the case. Suicide is one of the top 10 reasons for death and one of the top reasons among teens and young adults. Co-founder Greg Wilson has a background in community service and biology from the D.C. area. He said Elevate has no limit on the age, race, or gender of its users, and strongly believes that no matter the age, sex, ethnicity, religion; anyone can suffer from struggles and problems and everyone should minutely address that.
Now let us see how the app works. Once you download and open the app, you will be asked a series of questions regarding your current mental state and mood so that the system can provide the best materials. You need to choose words that describe the positive and negative moods to make your experience unique. The app has also got an online forum where you meet people like that you and can relate with them. One can have discussions and seek or give suggestions regarding the concerning issues. For users who don’t feel comfortable sharing their mental wellness journey with others, Elevate offers the ability for users to gain wisdom, guidance, and inspiration on an anonymous platform. The main motive of the app is not only to provide emotional support but also to become your go-to app and an escape from the gloomy social media spheres. Above all, the team hopes users will erase the stigma around addressing mental health needs by creating a vast community of self-caring individuals producing tangible results. So, go and search “Elevate- Mental Health Inspirational Self-Care”. The reviews also have been so far great. The app is said to have been keeping its users motivated and uplifted. The experience had also been relatable with the inclusion of the color communities, making it more personal. With some flaws here and here, the app developers are trying their best to make the venture more successful and make the application a household and must-have thing.
It is high time that we should eradicate the stigma around mental health and having a mental illness doesn’t mean that someone is “mad” or “crazy”. You need to understand that such stigma and prejudices force a person to take his/her/their lives at one second and definitely it is not an act of “selfishness”. In order to help someone in need during this tough time, first and foremost be there with the person and listen to them minutely without having preconceived notions and judgments. Even if you not physically present with them, always be emotional and mentally present, so that they get an assurance that someone cares for them.