Improving Mental Health with an Innovative App
The MindKloud developers explain how it measures anxiety and depression as well as mental health resilience.
Kyle N. Chang and Noe Foster, co-founders of HealthTechApps, work on their new MindKloud app in Foster’s East Honolulu home. On June 30, Foster won first place in the American Heart Association’s Hawai‘i Empowered to Serve Business Accelerator grant program.
What is MindKloud and how does it differ from your other apps?
Foster: It’s a free app that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to log and communicate brain health symptoms and triggers. It’ll be the first time we’ll ask questions about mental health resilience in addition to measuring anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts. We plan to release it on Feb. 14 in English and Spanish. Later, we hope to make it available in ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i.
Why ask about mental health resilience?
The baseline question in our current app, MyHealthStory 2, asks the user to describe something hard that they accomplished in the last year. Although the users noted high levels of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts, the vast majority smiled at the end of their selfie videos. We thought that was so incredible. We want to identify the triggers and experiences that help them feel strong and resilient in addition to the triggers that prompt them to feel anxiety for a longer period.
Where did HealthTechApps’ mission of trying to heal a generation come from?
Part of it comes from my experience in the military. But with Covid, more people are experiencing life through a screen, so the population of screenagers (typically teens and young adults) has gotten bigger. HealthTechApps is just one part of this mission to improve brain health. It’ll take the entire community to fulfill this mission.
You’re going on 10 years with HealthTechApps. What advice do you have for new startups and entrepreneurs?
Work with people you love, choose something that you love and pursue something that you’re really good at. It does require a ton of work and a ton of hours. Our journey has been pretty amazing because we still get excited when we learn something new – and we’re always learning something new.