Onesta: Nova SBE Students Present Idea to Mitigate Youth Mental Health Problems
Society | 30 May 2023 Onesta: Nova SBE Students Present Idea to Mitigate Youth Mental Health Problems

Youth mental health problems are growing at a fast pace. Despite there being many technological solutions to stay connected, those don’t prevent feelings of loneliness. Dorra Ben Tahar, Hannah Langenbach, Julia Rodriguez-Bustelo Fricke, and Lilian Friedrich, four Nova SBE students, want to tackle this ongoing crisis. 

To do so, they created Onesta – Your Safe Space, an app that connects students with volunteer-staffed psychology students and graduates to provide quick, cheap, and convenient peer-to-peer support. This enables a feeling of community and belonging, greater social connectiveness, emotional support due to the virtual safe space with people in similar stages in life, and many more.  

Onesta was the winning project of the latest Problemattic Ideathon edition, a high-profile platform that connects idea generators, funders, software developers, designers, UX researchers, etc., intending to address societal challenges. The 4 students came up with the idea and prototyped the app in professor Paolo Leone's course "Organizing for Good in the Digital Age". In this new exciting project-based course, Paolo Leone, an Assistant Professor in Social Innovation, and member of the ERA Chair in Social Innovation, helps students build new apps to address societal challenges. More than an idea, Onesta is a living example of how teaching can go beyond the classroom and support the generation of solutions that create impact and value for society. 

After winning the Hackathon, Onesta’s first steps will be to approach psychology or psychotherapy students in their Master’s to help users while targeting Nova SBE students as the initial app users. Sessions can be scheduled in advance, but in the future, the app also aims to provide instant support by setting up a hotline amongst registered psychology students, using AI, or redirecting them to an institutional hotline for urgent cases. 

The pilot will start at Nova SBE at the beginning of September. In the meantime, users and providers will be invited to test the platform and the overall concept, helping improve the brand and clarifying its strategy. In parallel, Dorra, Hannah, Julia, and Lilian will conduct more research through qualitative and quantitative surveys and interviews, collecting feedback, mentoring, and coaching from previous judges, investors, other successful entrepreneurs, and many more. Moreover, the students will seek collaboration with potential stakeholders such as the Well-being at Nova SBE office or other people with legal, technological, or psychological expertise.  

Finally, as the project evolves, the group is working with Sean Tierney (Onesta’s main contributing investor and founder of Problemattic) to coordinate the project and work out the next steps.  

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