His app increases access to mental health care

An employee of Here Hear, an app that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose and treat depression, visits a high school and shows students how to accurately monitor their stress levels. (Courtesy of Lynia Huang)

Prejudices around mental health persist in society, to such an extent that many people who need it do not seek treatment: this is the observation made by Lynia Huang when she was a soldier in Taiwan.

After leaving the army, Lynia Huang, who studied social work, co-founded Bamboo Technology. The company’s mission is to make mental health care more accessible to Taiwanese and more acceptable.

In 2019, the company launched Here Hear, a smartphone app that uses artificial intelligence to diagnose depression based on the user’s tone of voice and the words they choose. The app also allows you to monitor your stress level, sleep habits and the regularity of your heartbeat. The software then offers treatment options that include, among other things, relaxation techniques and courses to learn how to fight depression.

Thanks to Here Hear, users who are reluctant to confide in their mental problems can finally address them without having to deal with another person. “We are afraid of being judged or criticized by others, of being considered weak,” explains Lynia Huang.

Portrait of a woman on a gray background (@ Mix Design Co)
Lynia Huang, an alumnus of the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), is harnessing artificial intelligence to improve access to mental health care. (@Mix Design Co)

According to the English newspaper taiwannewsmore than one and a half million Taiwanese have experienced or are experiencing depression in one form or another, but most of these people do not seek help.

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that almost a billion people in the world* have a mental disorder, and relatively few have access to treatment. Every year, depression and anxiety cost the global economy the equivalent approximately $1 trillion in lost productivity.

To launch her Here Hear app, Lynia Huang needed help. She therefore chose to enroll in the Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)*, from the United States Department of State. This program, she says, gave her the skills and confidence she needed to achieve her next goal: the entrepreneur now wants to expand the use of Here Hear beyond Taiwan, where the app was downloaded 50,000 times in its first 3 months.

” [L’AWE] helped me put my whole plan on paper and link it to my vision, ensuring that our mission was anchored in a fundraising plan that was both realistic and operational,” she explains.

AWE provides women entrepreneurs with the knowledge, networks and access they need to launch and grow successful businesses. The program includes the Dreambuilder online course*, from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. This course teaches participants to evaluate their ideas, develop business plans and manage day-to-day operations.

Since 2019, AWE has empowered 25,000 women entrepreneurs in nearly 100 countries. The program exists in Taiwan* since 2021.

Through her business, Lynia Huang encourages women to pursue careers in engineering, and she supports veterans by hiring mainly former military colleagues. She hopes her app will encourage more Taiwanese to take charge of their mental issues.

“I am completely dedicated to improving public mental health and I believe that this mission is my whole life,” she says. I really like helping people. »

This article was written by freelancer Naomi Hampton. A other version was published by the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

*in English

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His app increases access to mental health care

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