BERKELEY, Calif., June 21, 2018 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Supportiv, the digital health app that matches users with live,
Typically, Supportiv's users pay $0.15 per minute for the anonymous peer support that's led by a trained moderator. The premise is that those who are struggling with life challenges prefer the help of real people who can identify with their circumstances and hardships, which is not necessarily what a therapist can offer.
The grant from the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures will provide over 150,000 minutes of peer support free of charge for vulnerable and low-income community members. More specifically, the grant will eliminate the cost of the service for high school students seeking emotional support, particularly in the wake of the series of school shootings driving fear and anxiety across America. The grant will also provide free access as needed to the victims of natural disasters—such as floods, wildfires, mudslides, and volcanic eruptions—who are experiencing grief, loss, and frustration. The Tamer Fund for Social Ventures provides seed grants to nonprofit, for-profit, and hybrid early-stage Columbia University-affiliated social and environmental ventures. After an initial screening process by the Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, Supportiv was first selected as one of several ventures chosen to be matched with Columbia University student due diligence teams enrolled in the Investing in Social Ventures class who assess the venture over the course of six weeks. Subsequently, Supportiv was selected as one of the finalists invited to pitch to the Tamer Fund for Social Ventures Investment Board in New York City, and one of three companies to receive grant funding.
Professor Bruce Usher, chair of the Tamer Fund Investment Board, explains the fund chose to make a grant award to Supportiv because of the venture's "innovative use of technology, strong management team, and the potential for large social impact."
Throughout the summer and fall of 2018, Supportiv will be conducting outreach to high school students and school districts to promote the availability of the free peer support. Interested students, teachers, and administrators may receive more information by contacting info(at)supportiv.com.
The high school demographic is highly prone to peer pressure, anxiety, and depression. Students are unlikely to seek in-person help, fearing the social stigma. Supportiv can help these students by connecting them to others who feel the same way, showing them that they aren't alone and that it's okay to open up about their issues.
Pennsylvania high school student Aubrey Eason says, "The overarching reason why so many kids don't reach out for help when they really need it is because all the support systems available to teenagers require a parent's knowledge and consent." Since Supportiv is an anonymous platform, they can share their feelings without sharing their identity.
According to Aubrey, "We are the technology generation. For us, our phones and computers connect us to the world outside of ourselves, and Supportiv uses this connection to reach those who can't reach out to people in their real lives."
Aubrey continues, "My favorite part of the app is that everything is moderated by psychology students, so if a group conversation starts to go south, the moderator can step in and intervene. I also really like that you get recommendations for articles and YouTube videos that are geared towards helping you cope with whatever feeling you're dealing with."
Supportiv is available for download on the App Store and Google Play.
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