A Louisiana teen created a mental health app to help other teens



643d462f04c8a9.70063501

Story at a glance


  • An app called Saplings was created by 11th grader Vaishnavi Kumbala, who attends Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies in Metairie outside New Orleans.

  • The app gives teens easy strategies to overcome anxiety, loneliness and sadness, among other concerns.

  • Kumbala created the app in 2021 following the devastation of Hurricane Ida.

(NewsNation) —A Louisiana teen designed an app to help her peers work through mental health challenges and it’s now being utilized in over 30 schools across the country. 

The app, called Saplings, was created by 11th grader Vaishnavi Kumbala, who attends Haynes Academy for Advanced Studies in Metairie outside New Orleans, reported The Washington Post. 

Her app gives teens easy strategies to overcome anxiety, loneliness and sadness, among other concerns.

“A lot of mental health resources out there are geared toward adults or younger kids,” Kumbala told the outlet. “I wanted to create something that was by a teen for teens.”

Among the app’s features is a “boredom buster” feature which give simple suggestions to combat specific feelings.

For anxiety, the app suggests making a list of what’s making you anxious, and for sadness, it advises to try “watching your favorite TV show,” according to the Post. 

“The prompts in the guided journal are targeted toward teens specifically,” she told the outlet.

Kumbala created the app in 2021 following the devastation of Hurricane Ida. The teen told the outlet that her school was shut down for more than a month, so she used this time to watch tutorials on how to build a website. 

“There was definitely a rise in stress levels in my community, especially among youth,” she told the outlet, adding that teens commonly hesitate to reach out for help because of the fear of being judged. 

While the teen emphasizes that the app is not meant to take the place of professional help, it is available in a time of need for teens. 

Saplings won the 2021 Congressional App Challenge in Louisiana’s First District, which is facilitated by the U.S government. It went on to become a free mobile app one year later, reported the Post. 

Since creating her platform, Kumbala has partnered with more than 30 schools across the country to make Saplings available for teens, according to the outlet. 

The teen continues to work with the Louisiana Health Department to make her app more widely available.

She has also advocated on a legislative level and was part of the team that helped draft Louisiana House Bill 353, which expands teen mental health support, according to the outlet. 

“I really want to keep expanding across our country even more, and expand internationally to schools,” Kumbala said. “I’m very passionate about this.”



Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top