• 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 / Design and style by Yoora Kim

Even for the duration of the most difficult instances in history, it is crucial to highlight these who are continuing to stick to their dreams and are taking strides to make the globe a greater spot. Every single month, Seventeen is honoring young people today as Voices of Adjust, these who are producing a distinction in their neighborhood and the globe at massive.

On Might 23, United States Surgeon Common Vivek Murthy labeled youth mental well being “the defining public well being challenge of our time.” It is a crisis that has worsened more than the previous decade, as prices of depression and anxiousness heighten amongst youngsters aged three to 17, according to investigation by JAMA Pediatrics. Etasha Donthi, 18, is acutely conscious of this. A couple of years ago, her close buddy tragically passed away from suicide and Etasha was confronted with a potent, albeit hard, query she knew she had to discover an answer to: “How can I create one thing that can make a good influence inside the mental well being space, and potentially save lives?”

Like most who grew up in the digital age, Etasha could not ignore social media and its influence, especially on mental well being. “I’ve come to understand that quite a few people today use it as a platform to express their mental well being struggles and feelings,” Etasha tells Seventeen. “However, amid the vast sea of posts, these expressions usually go unnoticed.” So in in between prom prep, midterm exams, and college applications, Etasha taught herself how to code through on-line investigation, 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 capacity to recognize suicidal ideation and mental well being struggles inside posts uploaded to apps like Twitter and Reddit, and then, connect these men and women with cost-free mental well being sources. In 2021, she founded She The Adjust, 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 each and every other and understanding we’re not alone is a large step towards producing alter and realizing, hey if they had been in a position to do it, perhaps I can also,” Etasha shares.

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Just after graduation, she’s set to commence classes at the University of California, Berkeley, as an engineering student, and as she continues to balance the responsibilities of getting a complete-time student and entrepreneur, Etasha’s mission to amplify gender equity and be a force of alter only grows stronger. Right here, Etasha Donthi, Seventeen’s newest Voice of Adjust, discusses the intricacies behind Livity, her journey to locating a supportive neighborhood in STEM, and why it is so crucial to stick to your passion.

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

Etasha Donthi: Livity utilizes all-natural language processing (NLP), an location 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, working with AI strategies. Particularly, the algorithm employs sentiment evaluation, which entails figuring out the emotional tone and sentiment expressed in the text. By applying this sentiment evaluation strategy, the algorithm can recognize language indicative of suicidal ideation and mental well being issues inside social media posts. Livity is a novel algorithm, so I’m in the method of patenting the algorithm.

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

ED: Though the algorithm is not at present publicly out there, our prototype operates by recognizing language indicative of suicidal ideation and then connecting these men and women with cost-free mental well being sources. The target is to connect these men and women with mental well being sources that they may not currently have access to or may not know are out there inside their location.

Correct now, we’re operating 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 offer further sources straight to men and women.

17: How do you balance getting a complete-time student and founder of a tech commence-up?

ED: It is surely been a studying practical experience. I dove into the tech commence-up globe headfirst, and am nevertheless in the early stages. Time management has been a large element of developing this commence-up alongside my schoolwork. But it is such an crucial venture and so close to and dear to my heart, I cannot not make time for it. Occasionally I take calls or organization meetings in the college cafeteria.

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

ED: I under no circumstances anticipated going into the tech field when I initial entered higher college, but it is one thing I fell in enjoy with. Some of my initial STEM classes in college had incredibly couple of girls, if any. It was an extremely hard period — in these formative years, I required to see representation as a lady and particular person of colour and be surrounded by people today who understood my viewpoint inside these classrooms. Not seeing that was a large difficulty. I knowledgeable microaggressions and extremely competitive, cliquey environments that created it hard to discover this untapped passion of mine authentically. It wasn’t till I participated in different Girls in STEM organizations that I located a sense of neighborhood, which was a large aid, in particular for the duration of the COVID years. I located like-minded people today, and despite the fact that they weren’t in my town or location, I was in a position to forge a connection and understand that I was not alone in my interests. There are other people today like me who are just as passionate, excited, and interested in STEM and are facing the similar troubles in the classroom as I am.

17: What is your largest piece of guidance to young people today in STEM?

ED: Your voice matters. You matter. Have faith in oneself. Imposter syndrome is an extremely genuine feeling, but understand that you are not alone. Obtaining a sense of neighborhood and realizing that there are other people today just like you, who are experiencing inequity inside these male-dominated spaces, aids you understand that you belong and your voice matters.

17: What does getting a Voice of Adjust honoree imply to you?

ED: Becoming a Voice of Adjust implies serving as a supply of inspiration and representation that quite a few may perhaps not have. It is a large, large step towards producing progress for females, in particular females of colour. It is the most gratifying feeling to be recognized for producing an influence.

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