bits pilani hyderabad

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Stress is a devil that has become an integral part of our lives in the 21st century. Most of the time, we’re taking stress about what would happen in the future, while totally ignoring to live our present. This is a problem not only faced by the working class but also the young reserves of our country, our children.

In order to help the young minds of the nation, focus more on things that matter, a San Francisco-based start-up called Lantern has introduced an app that will provide the students with simple coping strategies to deal with stress.

The startup introduced the app in India in a three-month pilot project this year, where about 200 students of Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Hyderabad, and another city university used the mobile app to monitor their mental health and communicated with the counsellors via phone and text.

India is a country where mental and physiological diseases are considered a big taboo. It comes as no surprise that the country which has about 16% of the world’s population, has one-third of all the globe’s recorded suicides, according to World Health Organization statistics from 2012.

Hence, the app was surely a much needed initiative in the country.

The person responsible for bringing the San Francisco app to India is Nitya Kanuri, a 25-year-old research assistant at the Stanford School of Medicine. Her Mana Maali (A hindi phrase which means ‘gardner of mind’) initiative, which translates to “gardener of the mind,” in English, aims to increase access to mental health services for Indian university students. Kanuri is overwhelmed by the response the app has received from the Indian students.

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In the pilot program, the students were first required to complete a survey on their phones to measure their stress levels and then do daily exercises on the app, like deep breathing and muscle relaxation. Counsellors recruited from Hyderabad and other Indian cities would then conduct phone conversations with students and checked on their progress through text messages.

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