Project by: Elizabeth Leff, Phoenix Underwood, Keya Patel, Natasha Puri, Marguerite Ruzich,
High Concept Statement:
Tinder-like model for mental health/wellness.
Health & Fitness
Need or Demand:
The prevalence of mental health problems in this country, and the world as a whole, is growing at a rapid pace. Colleges are unfortunately a prime breeding ground for the development or exacerbation of mental health issues, due to the new, rapidly changing, and demanding environment that college tends to be. Through our extensive market research at NYU, we found students felt isolated because they “had no one to talk to who would understand.” Students regularly relayed to us that they felt the most relief for their problems when talking about them with someone who could empathize. For example, a student at NYU who was key in developing the concept of the app had recently experienced the death of his father. The student felt isolated because there was no one around him would could provide any support besides sympathy, which the student found nice, but not helpful in dealing with the emotional strife. Unfortunately he had two close friends who lost family members around the same time, and he realized that he felt the most relief talking to these friends because they could empathize. We realized that not all students going through similar problems would have the ability to find people around them who could empathize, and thus we realized that an app aimed at creating these empathetic connections could help provide this opportunity to all students with smartphones.
Product / Service / Solution:
The design of our app is reflective of the type of resource needed for college students to truly thrive as shown through our own experiences and market research. Our app addresses the burden of mental health on college campuses via a peer-support model rooted in empathy, rather than through clinical resources. Further, our app provides a comprehensive list of available mental health and wellness resources based on a given user’s geographical location in order to increase accessibility to various forms of care.
Emp(a)t(h)y (pronounced: empathy) is an app that provides a platform to connect individuals through shared experiences, allowing a space for peer support and empathy. Given the prevalence of mental distress around the world, there is a great need for resources that can assist those who are dealing with such challenges.
We have conducted over one hundred interviews with three main interest groups: NYU Students, Local Businesses, and NYU Wellness and Professionals. Moreover, we have conducted market research in order to evaluate competition. After research and interviews, we have found the our app addresses a niche within the marketplace that has not yet been accessed. The combination of social networking and shared experiences gives our app a unique focus that is not present within other platforms or professional mental health professions, such as NYU Wellness.
There are four sources of revenue: advertisements relevant to mental health, amazon affiliate program, app fees (if users wish to upgrade), and local businesses. Users will have access to a map of local businesses relevant to well-being and mental health, for example, gyms, yoga studios, and restaurants. After interviewing businesses, they showed interest in paying a small fee to be featured on the app ($10-$20/month). The model is repeatable and scalable; with an increase in users we will see an increase in revenue. We hope to expand to other college campuses.