• Wed. Jun 7th, 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 through the most difficult instances in history, it is significant to highlight these who are continuing to comply with their dreams and are taking strides to make the globe a improved spot. Every single month, Seventeen is honoring young individuals as Voices of Modify, these who are producing a distinction in their neighborhood and the globe at big.

On May well 23, United States Surgeon Common Vivek Murthy labeled youth mental wellness “the defining public wellness concern of our time.” It is a crisis that has worsened more than the previous decade, as prices of depression and anxiousness heighten amongst kids aged three to 17, according to analysis by JAMA Pediatrics. Etasha Donthi, 18, is acutely conscious of this. A couple of years ago, her close pal tragically passed away from suicide and Etasha was confronted with a highly effective, albeit tough, query she knew she had to locate an answer to: “How can I make anything that can make a optimistic influence 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 influence, particularly on mental wellness. “I’ve come to comprehend that several individuals 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 generally go unnoticed.” So in in between prom prep, midterm exams, and college applications, Etasha taught herself how to code by means of on the internet analysis, YouTube, and female-led STEM organizations such as the Karlie Kloss-founded Kode With Klossy system.

Now a higher college senior, Etasha has created Livity, a patent-pending novel algorithm that has the capability to recognize suicidal ideation and mental wellness struggles inside posts uploaded to apps like Twitter and Reddit, and then, connect these people with totally free mental wellness sources. In 2021, she founded She The Modify, 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 single other and understanding we’re not alone is a large step towards producing modify and realizing, hey if they had been capable to do it, possibly I can as well,” Etasha shares.

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Just after graduation, she’s set to get started 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 modify only grows stronger. Right here, Etasha Donthi, Seventeen’s most recent Voice of Modify, discusses the intricacies behind Livity, her journey to locating a supportive neighborhood in STEM, and why it is so crucial to comply with your passion.

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

Etasha Donthi: Livity utilizes all-natural language processing (NLP), an region of artificial intelligence, and sentiment evaluation to recognize suicidal ideation inside social media posts. The algorithm operates by analyzing text information, such as Twitter threads and Reddit posts, employing AI tactics. Particularly, the algorithm employs sentiment evaluation, which requires figuring out the emotional tone and sentiment expressed in the text. By applying this sentiment evaluation method, 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 course of action of patenting the algorithm.

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

ED: While the algorithm is not at the moment publicly offered, our prototype operates by recognizing language indicative of suicidal ideation and then connecting these people with totally free mental wellness sources. The aim is to connect these people with mental wellness sources that they could possibly not currently have access to or could possibly not know are offered inside their region.

Correct now, we’re functioning 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 deliver extra sources straight to people.

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

ED: It really is definitely been a finding out knowledge. I dove into the tech get started-up globe headfirst, and am nonetheless in the early stages. Time management has been a large aspect of developing this get started-up alongside my schoolwork. But it is such an significant venture and so close to and dear to my heart, I can not not make time for it. Often I take calls or small business meetings in the college cafeteria.

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

ED: I never ever anticipated going into the tech field when I initial entered higher college, but it is anything I fell in adore with. Some of my initial STEM classes in college had quite handful of girls, if any. It was an extremely tough period — in these formative years, I necessary to see representation as a lady and particular person of colour and be surrounded by individuals 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 produced it tough to discover this untapped passion of mine authentically. It wasn’t till I participated in a variety of Females in STEM organizations that I located a sense of neighborhood, which was a large support, specifically through the COVID years. I located like-minded individuals, and though they weren’t in my town or region, I was capable to forge a connection and comprehend that I was not alone in my interests. There are other individuals like me who are just as passionate, excited, and interested in STEM and are facing the exact same troubles in the classroom as I am.

17: What is your greatest piece of guidance to young individuals in STEM?

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

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

ED: Becoming a Voice of Modify indicates serving as a supply of inspiration and representation that several may possibly not have. It is a large, large step towards producing progress for females, specifically females of colour. It is the most gratifying feeling to be recognized for producing an influence.

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