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AI-driven app helps teens with mental health support

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A mental health support app called Vive Teens is now available to offer young people emotional and mental health support.

Vive’s debut comes as the world marks depression and mental health awareness month in October.

Vive Teens was developed by Dr Jacques Ludik, founder and CEO of Cortex Logic, the company behind the Journey Wellness personalised artificial intelligence (AI) coach.

According to a statement, Vive is an AI-driven personal wellness companion that equips young adults with content, advice, self-discovery and human-led support systems to cope with the challenges they face every day.

The app offers access to a network of registered counsellors, ready to help teens via text, voice and video call channels whenever they need it, says the statement, adding the Vive ecosystem is protected by encryption to ensure full privacy of all interactions.

It includes AI-curated content relative to the user’s interests and context, user-centred exploration context that includes inspirational posts, podcasts, videos and news articles, and targeted content around common psychological and social challenges.

The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns caused global disruptions and uncertainty, increasing stress, anxiety and depression levels across South Africa. Job losses, growing financial pressures, and uncertain future prospects have affected adults and teens alike.

A survey conducted by pharmaceutical company Pharma Dynamics found there has been a significant increase in psychological and emotional stress among South Africans since the start of the pandemic.

In addition, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) indicated a record high number of distress calls via its hotline during the pandemic.

Before the pandemic, according to SADAG, it received around 600 calls a day. At the beginning of lockdown, the figure doubled to 1 200 calls per day, and now, 18 months later, SADAG receives over 2 200 daily distress calls.

The group’s dedicated suicide crisis helpline has received over 75 000 calls since January.

Vive Teens is available for download from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

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