Empathie is a personal entrepreneurship project I am working on alongside 5 other teammates (3 Masters of Design, 1 MBA, 1 Computer Engineering student) at UC Berkeley.
Empathie is a mental health social learning app that is an accessible form of therapy for racial minorities. We teach them how to understand and overcome their mental health issues by providing them tools and techniques tailored to their unique experiences and cultural backgrounds. They can learn alongside a community just like them, so they don't have to feel alone
Empathie complements traditional therapy approaches with a social learning community that allows participants to learn at their own pace.
Studies show that members of racial minorities are more likely to have unmet mental health needs due to financial, socioeconomic, and cultural reasons, which can lead to a greater risk of chronic illnesses, premature life mortality, more life instability, or incarceration. Enter Empathie. Empathie is a mental health social learning app that is an accessible form of therapy for racial minorities. We teach the various communities how to understand and overcome their mental health issues by providing them tools and techniques tailored to their unique experiences and cultural backgrounds. Empathie complements traditional therapy approaches with a social learning community that allows participants to learn at their own pace, and not feel alone in the undertaking.
Current Business Objectives
Reason for choosing business objective:
Since we are early-stage, our goal is to determine product-market fit by first testing our concept to gain customer insights. We need to determine whether or not racial minorities would find our mental health app relevant and supportive to them before releasing to a broader audience. Our idea is risky because there's a negative stigma around mental health for racial minorities, so we must first test our concept. Retention, user satisfaction, and engagement rates are related to having a starting user base, which we don't have because we are in the test phase.
Reasoning for constraints:
We thought about targeting areas outside of Berkeley, such as San Francisco, but we wanted to test with an audience that had closest ties to our identity — being Cal students.
We also thought about targeting a broad range of racial minorities but settled on Asian Americans because most of our class project group is Asian, so we are most familiar with these cultural effects on mental health compared to other racial groups.
Instead of providing generalized advice that isn’t catered to racial minorities, we take a more holistic view of our patients. We assess their cultural background and specific past experiences to understand what contributes to the patient’s behaviors and mental health outcomes.
Based on this holistic understanding, we provided a self-paced and tailored curriculum to our audience, racial minorities, in the form of quick content, such as consumable bite-sized videos.
Alongside the personalized curriculum, we provide a community that shares the same intersectionality as the patient. Patients can share what they learned and how they applied what they learned. They can also gain advice from other relatable people. We ensure that community conversations are productive and growth-oriented.
Why these user stories?
In our user interviews, we learned that people value finding relatable people so they don't feel alone. Interviewees also mentioned that it's important to get feedback on how they are approaching problems or enjoy seeing how other relatable people are solving problems. These user stories are primarily focused on Emapthie's key differentiators, which are mental health education that's tailored to one's cultural background and a supportive/helpful community.