Southern Utah parents create AI app for mental health check-ins
Aug 12, 2023, 4:38 PM | Updated: Aug 14, 2023, 10:30 am
ST. GEORGE, Utah — A southern Utah couple wants to change the game when it comes to understanding and taking charge of emotional and mental health, particularly among teens and young adults.
So often, when there’s a lot going on in our mind, it is hard to communicate those thoughts effectively. This is the case especially when we feel overwhelmed or do not know where to begin with how we think we are feeling, let alone describe it.
The app, Vibeonix, does not require any of that: All one has to do is count. Instead of telling the app how you are feeling, it tells you.
Kristi Holt, founder and CEO of the Vibeonix app, said in reality, there are more emotions than what people often think of as “happy, sad, mad, glad.”
In fact, we are far more complex as humans, which is why she said this app is designed to read the frequencies in your voice, breaking down emotions one is feeling and emotional intelligence.
“You count out loud for fifteen seconds,” Holt said.
This app helps users move through 12 different emotions by first identifying what is present, helping them understand the emotion, and figuring out what to let go of.
“Mental health is everyone because we’re all mental. We all have a mind. We’re all humans, and we’re all feeling emotion,” Holt said.
Vincent Threlfall credits taking care of his mind and emotions to his 2023 Snow Canyon wrestling state champion performance.
“When you’re focused on trying to keep up this image as this big, tough guy, you’re not paying attention to yourself and how you’re feeling. What’s going on up here has a direct impact on what you do with your body, and it’s what’s controlling all your movements and thoughts,” Threlfall said.
Through the app, there is also Gabi, an AI guide that offers support through a chat. Her job is to take emotion out of the equation.
Holt said it might sound flip-flopped, but by taking emotion out when we’re in an emotionally driven state, it takes the guesswork out of trying to figure out what is best for us at that moment and moving forward.
“Emotions are what you experience. They’re not what you are, and I think if every teen knew that, they might feel safe in their own emotion. Feel ’em and let ’em go,” she said.
Brinley Horton will soon be starting her freshman year of college. With her eyes set on helping others by studying forensic nursing, paramedic route, she said the app will be something she pulls up daily.
“That’s a bunch of heavy emotions, especially for an empathetic person like me, so I’m gonna be using this a lot and trying to do what I can to feel while also feeling other people’s emotions,” Horton said.
Holt said while the app and AI are never going to replace the emotions and connections humans hold, it can serve as a vehicle for change by pulling from data points when it matters and making sense of it.
“What AI can do is help us do something faster and more efficient and give accurate suggestions for real change,” Holt said.
She said there are over 5,000 app users.
The company hopes as the app grows, it will partner with universities to scale what mental and emotional health support could look like in education.