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Minnesota Teens Launch Feel Now App to Tackle Youth Mental Health Crisis

In response to the alarming mental health crisis among teenagers in the U.S., two innovative minds from Minnesota, Taara Verma and Siena Pradhan, have launched the Feel Now app. The American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association have recently declared a “national state of emergency” for children’s mental health, emphasizing the urgency of addressing this pressing issue.

"Minnesota Teens Launch Feel Now App to Tackle Youth Mental Health Crisis"

“Minnesota Teens Launch Feel Now App to Tackle Youth Mental Health Crisis”

Verma and Pradhan joined forces to create Feel Now, an app designed to help young people become more aware of their emotions and promote mental well-being. The app, launched earlier this year, employs a unique approach to encourage teenagers to check in with themselves regularly and identify their emotions.

Taara Verma shared that the inspiration for the app came from her own experiences in therapy, where identifying emotions proved to be a grounding and empowering practice. Recognizing the privilege of receiving mental health care, Verma envisioned a tool that could extend this valuable practice to teenagers who might not have had similar access.

Siena Pradhan highlighted the efficiency of using apps to target a teenage audience, emphasizing that the app sends notifications at any point during the day, prompting users to check in on their emotions in real-time. The app goes beyond generic emotions like “sad” and encourages users to specify the nuances of their feelings, such as grief, anger, or isolation.

One notable feature of Feel Now is its approach to sharing emotions with friends. Unlike other apps, Feel Now does not facilitate the direct sharing of specific emotions. The creators aim to avoid potential unhealthy dependencies among friends regarding mental health. Instead, the focus is on users becoming more attuned to their own emotions, taking personal steps, and fostering supportive connections.

Regarding seeking additional help, Pradhan emphasized that having friends on the app signifies a support system, and users are encouraged to reach out to friends, parents, or school counselors if persistent emotions of sadness, anger, or anxiety arise.

Verma expressed the hope that Feel Now could contribute to preventive intervention by encouraging users to seek help earlier, rather than waiting until mental health issues become more severe.

Highlighting the importance of the app for communities of color, Verma and Pradhan, both from South Asian families, acknowledged the stigma around negative emotions in their communities. They believe that by making regular emotional check-ins a routine practice, the app can help reduce awkwardness and foster more open and productive family discussions about emotions.

In essence, Feel Now stands as a commendable initiative in leveraging technology to address the youth mental health crisis, providing a practical and accessible tool for teenagers to cultivate emotional awareness and resilience.