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Apeejay student develops an app to address mental health issues among people

22-year-old young developer Tanya Saxena explains why she created ‘Mentoniya’



It’s no secret that mental health is crucial to our overall well-being and yet, it’s a subject that many Indians are still wary of discussing or accepting help for. Mentoniya, the latest app developed by Tanya Saxena, a final year student pursuing Bachelor of Pharmacy at Apeejay Stya University, aims to tackle it.  The app developer explains, “The inspiration behind developing this app stems from a combination of personal experiences and a desire to make a positive impact on mental health. The idea took shape when I recognised the need for a user-friendly and accessible tool that could help individuals assess their mental well-being. Many people hesitate to seek professional help due to various reasons, such as stigma, lack of resources, or simply being unaware of the severity of their condition. I wanted to bridge this gap by developing an app that could empower individuals to self-assess their mental health in a confidential and non-judgmental manner.” 

The inspiration

Tanya has always been fascinated by the field of healthcare and medicine, which led her to pursue a career in pharmacy. Explaining how she started the journey of developing Mentoniya, she says, “In the 7th semester, we were asked to do a project on any topic. At that time, I chose to check and calculate the prevalence of depression and anxiety disorders in my locality. I prepared a questionnaire and shared it among many groups of the society. The results were very shocking as it showed that among 345 individuals, around 205 were undergoing symptoms of depression according to the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) also known as the HAM-D scale. These statistics pushed me to develop an app which will make people aware about their mental health.”

She further adds, “The depressive mood swings, stress, insomnia are some factors which we Indians mostly neglect very often. Through this app for depressed patients, I aim to address some of these barriers and provide a convenient and accessible means of support. Mobile applications have become an integral part of people’s lives, and leveraging this technology for mental health purposes seemed like a natural step forward. Apps can reach a wide audience, allowing individuals to access resources and tools in the comfort and privacy of their own homes, anytime and anywhere.”

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From ideation to reality 

The 22-year-old innovator explains the entire process of developing this app. “The initial stage involved recognising the need for a self-assessment app for depression and anxiety. Extensive research was conducted  through surveys to understand the target audience, their pain points, and the existing gaps in mental health support. The name “Mentoniya” is a combination of the app’s purpose i.e. ‘mental health’ and developer’s name i.e. ‘Tanya Saxena’ to reflect the app’s purpose of assisting individuals in assessing and managing their mental well-being,” she says.

Tanya then went ahead to create a detailed plan, outlining the app’s features, functionalities, and user interface. The core focus was on developing a user-friendly and intuitive interface for self-assessment, providing personalised feedback, and offering resources for managing depression and anxiety. She then selected the appropriate technology stack, including Python for backend development and AI integration. After which, the app’s architecture was designed. The self-assessment algorithm was developed using AI techniques to analyse user responses and provide accurate feedback. “Throughout the process, user privacy and data security were given utmost importance, ensuring that user information is handled with strict confidentiality and adherence to relevant regulations,” she emphasises.

Mentoniya’s USP

Tanya’s innovation tailored for depressed patients offers a range of benefits. It can serve as a platform for self-assessment, enabling users to gain insights into their mental well-being and track their symptoms over time. This self-awareness is crucial in empowering individuals to take proactive steps towards seeking help and engaging in self-care.

“Additionally, my app can provide educational resources and psychoeducation, equipping users with valuable information about depression, its causes, and evidence-based treatment options. This can help reduce the stigma surrounding mental health and empower individuals to make informed decisions about their care,” she highlights.

Mentoniya is integrated with several unique features to provide comprehensive support for individuals in assessing and managing their depression and anxiety. These are known as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), which is targeted to treat depression and anxiety at initial level without taking drug therapy. Some these features are:

Self-Assessment Drill: The app offers a self-assessment tool that allows users to evaluate their mental well-being. Through a series of carefully crafted questions, users can gauge the severity of their symptoms and gain insights into their emotional state. This feature helps individuals monitor their mental health and encourages them to seek appropriate help if needed. 

Meditation Sounds: Mentoniya provides a collection of soothing meditation sounds and ambient music to help users relax, reduce stress, and improve their overall well-being.These calming sounds can be accessed anytime, providing a peaceful environment to unwind and alleviate anxiety.

Sleep Stories: The app offers a curated selection of sleep stories designed to help users combat insomnia and achieve a restful night’s sleep. These narrated stories, accompanied by gentle background music, create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere that aids in falling asleep faster and promoting better sleep quality.

Yoga and Asana Videos: Mentoniya includes a library of yoga exercises and asana videos by professionals. These guided yoga sessions provide users with a means to engage in physical activity, improve flexibility, and enhance mental and physical well-being. The videos offer step-by-step instructions, making yoga accessible to users of all skill levels.

Counsellor and Doctors’ Numbers: The app provides a directory of trusted counsellors and doctors specialising in mental health. Users can access this resource to find contact information and seek professional help or schedule appointments conveniently. This feature aims to connect individuals with the right mental health professionals located near their locality.

Personalised Recommendations: Mentoniya leverages AI algorithms to analyse user responses from the self-assessment drill and provide personalised recommendations. Based on the individual’s assessment results, the app offers tailored suggestions for self-care activities, coping strategies, and potential next steps to manage their depression and anxiety effectively.

Future plans 

“Regarding the future plans for Mentoniya, I have few objectives in mind such as to enhance the app by adding new features, refining existing functionalities, and addressing any reported issues or user feedback, to launch my app on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store to make it easily accessible to a broader audience. she adds. 

The Apeejay student said that she may explore various avenues as well to secure financial support for the app’s development, marketing, and future growth. “This will include seeking investments from venture capitalists, applying for grants or funding programs that support mental health initiatives, or exploring partnerships with organizations or sponsors aligned with mental health advocacy,” she says. As per Taniya, building partnerships with experts in the field can also help enhance the credibility and effectiveness of Mentoniya thereby providing a user-centric app that delivers the most effective and relevant support possible.

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Harshita is Assistant Editor at Apeejay Newsroom. With experience in both the Media and Public Relations (PR) world, she has worked with Careers360, India Today and Value360 Communications. A learner by nature, she is a foodie, traveller and believes in having a healthy work-life balance.