Meet Ariba Khan, who is helping people fight mental health issues with an AI-based ‘safe space’
As a young, spirited and ambitious 30-year-old, Ariba Khan can relate to mental health challenges that people her age are fighting. The lack of a safe space where such people could open up about their thoughts anonymously, is what spurred her business idea – an artificial intelligence-based deep tech mental health app.
With Jumping Minds, this IIT-Rourkee and IIM-Bengaluru alumnus, along with co-founder Piyush Gupta, built a space where people could chat with individuals in a similar situation without exposing their identity.
“All of us require a safe space where you can talk about the challenges you may be facing. It doesn’t have to be clinical stress, but all of us are facing one stress or another – a bad breakup, difficult time at work, adjusting with the family. So, we thought of creating a digital space where you connect to people who may have gone through similar stressors, share your experiences, and release emotions,” Khan tells Health Shots.
Mental health matters
In the past few years, global celebrities have broken their silence on facing mental health issues. Somewhere, destigmatisation has happened, but there’s a long way to go. It is because of the continued stigma around mental health that Khan chose to make Jumping Minds an anonymous space.
“Otherwise, there’s always a judgment factor,” says the Delhi dweller, adding that even though her platform is all about tech, at the heart of lies human interaction through technology.
“It helps people to release emotions, clear their head and find solutions,” asserts Khan.
Just five years ago, talking about stress and feeling burnt out at work would have been unimaginable. But the Covid-19 pandemic has pushed people into taking their mental health more seriously.
“The Gen-Z, especially, is more unapologetic about their mental health. They have an aspirational lifestyle, they want to live a well-balanced, happy life. And so, I would say the younger generation is leading the change in mindset and the positive shift towards wellness. Still, there’s a stigma around mental health and limited safe spaces where people don’t feel ashamed or guilty about sharing their story. Instead, people should feel empowered that there are so many other people going through the same,” Khan says.
Mental health issues of the young generation
As someone who believes in the adage that “it’s okay to not be okay”, Khan outlines the most common health problems that youngsters in the 20-30 age group are going through these days.
1. Relationship troubles:
Whether you are stressed at work or family life, it directly impacts your interpersonal relationships. People are getting increasingly stressed about how to maintain relationships.
This is why people need a digital detox from time to time! “Anxiety is the after-effect of social media. The need to be perfect, with filters on all the time,” explains Khan, stressing on how social anxiety and social comparison are turning out to be spoilers.
“People tend to think, ‘Maybe I am not enough’, ‘I am working so much, but I am not upto that level.’ And that social anxiety has become very prominent in the post-Covid era,” she explains.
3. Sexual wellness:
This is the age when early professionals and college students explore their body and preferences. So, people have a lot of questions around sexual wellness.
The desire to reach career milestones leads to undue pressure and stress on people. They overthink things like, ‘Are we in the right job? Are we working with the right people?’ But talking about these things, instead of keeping the thoughts to yourself, will give you a feeling of validation.
3 happiness hacks for women, suggested by Ariba Khan
Khan has three simple suggestions for women to follow for the sake of their mental peace.
1. Find peaceful breaks in a day
“I know we are women of the 21st century, always leading the way – whether it is in personal life or professional life. But it is very important to have time in a day when you are by yourself, living in the moment,” she suggests.
Khan assures that doing so even for a few minutes every day will help people become more productive and more appreciative of the positive results of the eveeryday hustle.
2. It’s okay, to err is human
Even research says women tend to have higher stress levels than men! “The society has made wmen accustomed to keeping everyone around them happy – be it colleagues, friends, family. But it is okay to sometimes make mistakes, feel bad or low. We may think we are superwomen, but we are humans after all! We should’t expect ourselves to be perfect all the time, because there’s true beauty in being imperfect,” she adds.
3. Talk it out
Don’t keep your thoughts to yourself. If you are stressed, talk about it. “Don’t feel ashamed about it, and who knows, it may give courage to others to talk about their journey. Once you start releasng the monster from your head, it becomes smaller. And if you do it in a community, you will see magic!”