Teens Create Mental Health App Feel Now

by | May 2024

Taara Verma

Taara Verma. PhotoSoni B Photography

Siena Pradhan and Taara Verma create an innovative mental health app.

We often talk about the importance of being able to regulate our emotions—keeping everything in check and staying calm throughout life’s emotional ebbs and flows. But healthy regulation requires a large dose of self-awareness and a toolkit of emotion management skills.

High school students Taara Verma and Siena Pradhan recognized that practicing emotional awareness, especially for teens like them, could be a huge benefit for mental health.

“I came up with the idea based on my own experiences in therapy,” says Taara, a senior at the Blake School. “We’d start off each session by identifying what I was feeling in the moment … it was helpful for the session and also to know what to do with that feeling.”

With her newfound realization, Taara approached her friend Siena about her idea for an app—an emotion tracker that prompts users to log daily feelings and build emotional awareness over time. Next, they focused on researching the market. “We noticed there was a resurgence of simple apps,” says Siena, an Edina resident who attends Andover, a boarding school in Massachusetts. “[Other apps] are straightforward, no bells and whistles, so we honed in on that first.”

Siena Pradhan

Siena Pradhan. Photo: Amy Sundby Jeanchaiyaphum

Simplification and ease were priorities as the app was designed, taking users less than a minute to complete their daily log. “It’s geared toward people with busy lives … and unlike meditating or taking a walk, checking in takes so little time,” Siena says. Randomized prompts, reminding users to check in, allows the app to build a data set with a large sample size, capturing a picture of users’ emotional health as a whole.

Accessibility was also a consideration throughout the process. As a free download and ad-free product, the tool is available to anyone and everyone. The pair also pored over each feature to ensure inclusivity. “We put a lot of thought into figuring out what language was best to use for the app. What’s the best way to talk about mental health and feelings?” Siena says. “We aren’t trying to market it toward girls or boys, but to teenagers.” From font choices to color schemes, they considered every detail.

Now with more than 7,000 downloads, Feel Now gives users more than just a virtual emotional check-in, but a long-term, high-level scope to their emotional health as a whole.

Taara says, “It’s for general better self-awareness, but also it’s important to then figure out what to do with [the feeling]. Pinpoint what the feeling is, and then decide what action may be needed. If you’ve been feeling sad for a prolonged period of time, then you can see that trend and take action or get help.”

And what would an app be without a social aspect? “Feel Now incorporates components of social media,” Siena says, “So you can have friends who can see whether or not you’ve checked in with yourself yet or not.” Although friends don’t see a friend’s specific check in response, the feature provides a sense of camaraderie and connection.

Although semi-new to the app scene, Taara and Siena plan on taking a breather after launching Feel Now before jumping into their next project. On the horizon? They hint at the possibility of new features to the app that help spark joy on the spot.

Feel Now
Instagram: @feelnowapp
TikTok: @feelnow4


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