A college mental health app to manage support networks and encourage self-care.

This project won 1st prize in the University of Virginia's Social Entreprenuership Competition, recieving $1000 in funding.

Entreprenurial Project
Behaviorial Researcher
Daniel Autry
Emily Yun
Yash Tekriwal
Sep 2017
(5 mo.)

We noticed that college students find it difficult to practice self-care.

Inspired by our battles with mental illness, two friends and I decided to create a solution for encouraging self-care in everyday college life.

Witn this solution, we decided to compete in the University of Virginia's Social Entreprenuership Competition.

See pitch deck

75% of lifetime mental illnesses develop before the age of 24.

Center for College Mental Health Penn State, 2015.

41% of students suffer from a mental health issue.

National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2016

2/3 students struggling do not seek help.

Center for College Mental Health Penn State, 2015.

Our Solution

MindBrush is an app that promotes mental hygiene by making aspects of it a daily routine.

Our goal was to create an app users could trust in their times of stress, sadness, and affliction. My responsibilities included behaviorial research, mockups and branding, and the development of the web application prototype.

Emily also led the mockups and branding of the app, while Yash led the sales. We all contributed to the overall strategy and direction of the app.


My team and I performed 100+ interviews.

Mental illness is highly stigmatized, and most solutions are prescriptive rather than proactive. Current mental health apps in the market have low retention rates.

Often times, messaging such as "Are you feeling depressed today" placed unnecessary stigmas on users.

Students were so overwhelmed with school, extracurriculars, and work, they often found it difficult to make time for their support networks. They wished for more time to do the things that mattered to them.

We sought to create a solution that would automatically schedule self-care time for students, so that they could live more fulfilling lives.


What is mental hygiene?

We defined mental hygiene as any behavior that prevents stress and mental illness from developing. Examples are listed below.

Strong Support Network

Meditation & Mindfulness

A Good Night's Sleep

Spending Time Outdoors


The next step was to decide on brand identity.

We wanted to create a platform that the user can trust, especially when dealing with such a sensitive issue.

Colors & Fonts

Light Pink



Proxima Nova

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.




Proxima Nova

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

Logo Iterations
How it works

We mocked up a mobile and web app and prototyped only a web app, in order to minimize risk and prove the concept quickly.

1. Students go through an initial onboarding.

Here, the web app walks the user through the basics and explains the process of onboarding.

2. Students list their interests and hobbies.

Here, the web app uses machine learning to suggest self-care activities for the student to do.

3. The app schedules self-care activities based on the students' interests.

The app also automatically schedules friends with overlapping free time to do the same activities together.

4. Based on feedback, the app offers insights into the person's mental hygiene.

Here, the app uses machine learning to understand the student, offering key insights into how they function and behave.


First prize in UVA's Social Entreprenuership Competition.

With two team members, we pitched Mindbrush to a crowd and panel of 3 judges and came away with 1st prize and $1000 in prize money in the Social Entreprenuership track.

Afterwards, we prototyped a series of initiatives to further test the app, before ultimately disbanding due to more pressing matters in school and extracurriculars.

This concept app provided the basis for my mental health research with the Elliewood Fellowship. After disbanding, I was still very interested in the idea of mental health prevention and how it related to the college mental health system.

I spent the next year fully unpacking the college mental health space - learning the ins and outs, doing behaviorial research with each player, and rapidly prototyping different solutions.

Read more about my research here.

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