Dubai: Teen sisters create app to help students tackle mental health

The brainchild of Vaishnavi and Visista Jayanti, How is Life provides a safe space where users can share their concerns and worries


Angel Tesorero

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KT Photos: Angel Tesorero
KT Photos: Angel Tesorero

Published: Tue 20 Feb 2024, 4:09 PM

Last updated: Tue 20 Feb 2024, 10:20 PM

An app created by teens, for teens, and managed by teens, is gaining ground among youngsters in Dubai, for providing a safe space for the youth to tackle academic requirements and mental health. The sisters who developed it said they created the app because youngsters tend to be more comfortable talking to someone their age.

A brainchild of Vaishnavi Jayanti, 16, and Visista Jayanti, 19, How Is Life (HIL) is an app where users share their concerns and worries “without being judged.” The sisters said HIL creates a supportive online community for teenagers who are undergoing physical and emotional changes and are finding it harder or more difficult to talk to their parents about the changes in their lives when they were younger.

HIL was also created as a navigation tool for one’s journey to self-discovery, with help from other teens who share advice or are simply available with an ear to listen.

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Hundreds of users have already downloaded the app and are active in HIL – a couple of months since it was launched – noted the Jayanti sisters.

Community notes

Some of the messages posted in the online community read:

“I’m really struggling with avoiding distractions and overwhelming thoughts while studying. Any suggestions on how to tackle them?

“I have been facing this problem quite frequently particularly now during preparation for my exams: I often tend to think about the remaining portions left and other such thoughts often come in my brain and I get distracted.”

“How do I get myself focused on my academics and not get stressed. This really kills my confidence and I tend to grow anxious over time so it is taking a toll on my self-confidence also. What do I do? Any suggestions?”

Some are quick to offer help like one user who posted: “Hey guys how are you all doing!! just wanted to message if any of you guys need any help with anything related to mental health, I’m here to help you.”

Solutions are based on personal experiences such as one shared by a user: “I study for short periods and set myself a reward for my productivity. So, if you study effectively for the time you set, thank yourself and give a reward for your accomplishment. This is really an excellent way for you to feel good about yourself.”

Discussion boards

HIL has several discussion boards, including academic, cognitive, social, as well as physical and mental health. The app design is trendy and youthful, made possible by another teenager, Stuti Doshi from Rainbow International School, who is also the social media content creator and head graphic designer.

Professional help is also available on HIL as users can book appointments with registered counsellors at affordable rates, noted Natalie Felicia, 17, who is HIL marketing head.

HIL has a built-in time-table generator that the Jayanti sisters said is helpful to boost time management and organisation skills.

HIL is available on App Store and Google Play. It is free to download but the creators are planning to launch a premium version with more features once they reach 5,000 users.

Not substitute for parental advice

The Jayanti sisters also made it clear that HIL was not created as a substitute for parental advice. “We just developed a platform that boost our need where we can feel free to seek advice on any issues concerning changes in our physical, social and mental health.”


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