• Sat. Jun 10th, 2023

Etasha Donthi Is Establishing Novel Technologies to Tackle the Mental Wellness Crisis on Social Media


May 26, 2023

Etasha Donthi Is a Seventeen Voice of ChangeLors Photography / Style by Yoora Kim

Even in the course of the most difficult occasions in history, it really is significant to highlight these who are continuing to stick to their dreams and are taking strides to make the planet a much better spot. Each and every month, Seventeen is honoring young men and women as Voices of Alter, these who are creating a distinction in their neighborhood and the planet at massive.

On Could 23, United States Surgeon Basic Vivek Murthy labeled youth mental wellness “the defining public wellness challenge of our time.” It is a crisis that has worsened more than the previous decade, as prices of depression and anxiousness heighten amongst youngsters aged three to 17, according to investigation by JAMA Pediatrics. Etasha Donthi, 18, is acutely conscious of this. A couple of years ago, her close buddy tragically passed away from suicide and Etasha was confronted with a strong, albeit complicated, query she knew she had to locate an answer to: “How can I develop anything that can make a good effect inside the mental wellness space, and potentially save lives?”

Like most who grew up in the digital age, Etasha could not ignore social media and its effect, particularly on mental wellness. “I’ve come to understand that numerous men and women use it as a platform to express their mental wellness struggles and feelings,” Etasha tells Seventeen. “However, amid the vast sea of posts, these expressions frequently go unnoticed.” So in in between prom prep, midterm exams, and college applications, Etasha taught herself how to code through on the web investigation, YouTube, and female-led STEM organizations such as the Karlie Kloss-founded Kode With Klossy plan.

Now a higher college senior, Etasha has created Livity, a patent-pending novel algorithm that has the capacity to recognize suicidal ideation and mental wellness struggles inside posts uploaded to apps like Twitter and Reddit, and then, connect these folks with cost-free mental wellness sources. In 2021, she founded She The Alter, a podcast and non-profit organization that highlights female leaders and changemakers who are difficult and altering the status quo in male-dominated fields. “Connecting with every other and understanding we’re not alone is a large step towards creating adjust and realizing, hey if they have been capable to do it, perhaps I can as well,” Etasha shares.

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Immediately after graduation, she’s set to commence classes at the University of California, Berkeley, as an engineering student, and as she continues to balance the responsibilities of becoming a complete-time student and entrepreneur, Etasha’s mission to amplify gender equity and be a force of adjust only grows stronger. Right here, Etasha Donthi, Seventeen’s most up-to-date Voice of Alter, discusses the intricacies behind Livity, her journey to locating a supportive neighborhood in STEM, and why it is so vital to stick to your passion.

17: How does your novel algorithm, Livity, operate?

Etasha Donthi: Livity utilizes all-natural language processing (NLP), an location of artificial intelligence, and sentiment evaluation to recognize suicidal ideation inside social media posts. The algorithm performs by analyzing text information, such as Twitter threads and Reddit posts, applying AI approaches. Particularly, the algorithm employs sentiment evaluation, which entails figuring out the emotional tone and sentiment expressed in the text. By applying this sentiment evaluation strategy, the algorithm can recognize language indicative of suicidal ideation and mental wellness issues inside social media posts. Livity is a novel algorithm, so I’m in the approach of patenting the algorithm.

17: Immediately after the algorithm recognizes this language, what takes place subsequent?

ED: Even though the algorithm is not presently publicly readily available, our prototype operates by recognizing language indicative of suicidal ideation and then connecting these folks with cost-free mental wellness sources. The objective is to connect these folks with mental wellness sources that they may not currently have access to or may not know are readily available inside their location.

Appropriate now, we’re operating on integrating this algorithm into an app and extension, exactly where it can recognize suicidal ideation inside the current social media apps we use on a every day basis, like Twitter and Reddit, and present further sources straight to folks.

17: How do you balance becoming a complete-time student and founder of a tech commence-up?

ED: It is absolutely been a studying knowledge. I dove into the tech commence-up planet headfirst, and am nevertheless in the early stages. Time management has been a large aspect of developing this commence-up alongside my schoolwork. But it is such an significant venture and so close to and dear to my heart, I cannot not make time for it. Often I take calls or organization meetings in the college cafeteria.

17: What inspired you to pursue a profession in tech and entrepreneurship?

ED: I by no means anticipated going into the tech field when I very first entered higher college, but it really is anything I fell in adore with. Some of my very first STEM classes in college had incredibly couple of girls, if any. It was an extremely complicated period — in these formative years, I required to see representation as a lady and particular person of colour and be surrounded by men and women who understood my point of view inside these classrooms. Not seeing that was a large difficulty. I skilled microaggressions and extremely competitive, cliquey environments that created it complicated to discover this untapped passion of mine authentically. It wasn’t till I participated in different Girls in STEM organizations that I identified a sense of neighborhood, which was a large enable, in particular in the course of the COVID years. I identified like-minded men and women, and while they weren’t in my town or location, I was capable to forge a connection and understand that I was not alone in my interests. There are other men and women like me who are just as passionate, excited, and interested in STEM and are facing the similar issues in the classroom as I am.

17: What is your greatest piece of suggestions to young men and women in STEM?

ED: Your voice matters. You matter. Have faith in your self. Imposter syndrome is an extremely true feeling, but understand that you are not alone. Locating a sense of neighborhood and realizing that there are other men and women just like you, who are experiencing inequity inside these male-dominated spaces, aids you understand that you belong and your voice matters.

17: What does becoming a Voice of Alter honoree imply to you?

ED: Becoming a Voice of Alter implies serving as a supply of inspiration and representation that numerous may possibly not have. It is a large, large step towards creating progress for ladies, in particular ladies of colour. It is the most gratifying feeling to be recognized for creating an effect.

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