Brain Health

Sforzandi ( a sudden change in emphasis)

By Scrappy Papi

Location

United States

Team Leader

Michelle Kalisz

Our solution:

IOS app designed to break the cycle of depression by interrupting thought patterns and behavior. The user begins to identify negative feelings, she can access the app, ideally before spiraling further. She can pick 1 of 6 options to immediately engage in and divert habitual detrimental thinking.

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Our pitch:

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The problem:

Community, timer, writing exercise, music, shared quotes and immediate task were derived from my own experiences with depression and the enormous amount of research and experimentation conducted as a result.  

The problem wasn't about accessing information for help, it was about using the tools and knowledge during the darkest moments.  If I was able to change the course of events even for 3 minutes, I had a much better chance of preventing or delaying spiraling further.  Usually, one has no extra bandwidth for large tasks; the app is designed to provide bite-sized, small-commitment immediate options.  

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Why our solution will solve the problem:

I used to believe depression was exclusively a result of thought patterns – I studied A.Ellis and D.Burns, Buddhist philosophers Krishnamurti, Aurobindo, D.Goleman and Chodron.  Controlling my thoughts became my goal, but I still felt lousy – I looked for another door. 

Dr. John Ratey wrote about building neural connections via exercise.  The Female Brain, by Dr. Brizendine, explained how hormone cycles influenced mood.  The work of Mark Wolynn illuminated how family trauma may be inherited.

Movement, connection, music, affirming reminders, writing or simple tasks cover both mental and biological factors which contribute to depression.

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Our solution's stage of development:

Research

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Target Outcomes

Our target outcomes:

The app functions to provide a last minute lifeline during the tough moments when intellectual understanding and self will may fall short -when users simply cannot pick themselves up to even leave the bed.  This anonymous, free app would ideally be available worldwide. Increasing awareness about the app through social media platforms, school systems and community centers.  Anyone who has struggled with depression will benefit from this solution – taking small steps in a different direction.

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How we will measure our progress:

  • Outcome: App is loaded onto 20,000 students' phone or ipad
    Measurement Plan: Track downloads in app store
  • Outcome: Community is created by utilizing the app
    Measurement Plan: Tracking log in
  • Outcome: People feel better
    Measurement Plan: Anonymous user feedback
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The populations we will benefit initially:

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Upper middle income economies (between $3976 and $12275 GNI)
  • Lower middle income economies (between $1006 and $3975 GNI)
  • Non-binary
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The regions we will benefit initially:

  • US and Canada
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The countries we will benefit initially:

  • Canada
  • United States
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Technology

The technologies we employ:

  • Consumer-facing software (mobile applications, cloud services)
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Why our solution is unique:

Popular apps like Headspace have provided many with long-term mental health exercises-- very important-- but few offer immediate solutions for the hardest times.  Sforzandi functions a bridge to the long-term, consistent practices that may not be accessible or have not been fully assimilated by the individual.  As the user begins to notice detrimental patterns, for example feeling  hopeless and resigning to non-action, completing an option on Sforzandi may lead to completing another one … a deeper negative spiral may be avoided.

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Why our solution is human-centered:

Anyone with access to a phone or ipad will have access to the app.

The solution will be deployed through the app store.  77% of adults in the US own a smart phone and 73% of teens have access to these devices.  The app will be free to download with unlimited access.

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How people will access our solution:

The solution will be deployed through the app store.  The app will be a free download and have unlimited accessibility.

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Technology-Readiness Level:

0 (Concept)
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Business Plan

Our organization:

Not Registered as Any Organization

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Where we are located:

United States
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How we will sustain our team financially:

I will be supporting myself financially throughout the whole process.

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The factors limiting our success:

Engaging and locating depressed individuals, our target audience, may be difficult.  Hopefully remaining anonymous will contribute to a feeling of safety that is important as one finds the courage to reach out for help.

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How long we have been working on our solution:

Less than 1 year
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How long it will take to develop a pilot:

3-6 months
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How long it will take to scale beyond our pilot:

12-18 months
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Our expected annual budget:

$20000

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How much of our budget we've secured to date:

$5000

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Partnership Needs

We're looking for partners in these fields:

  • Behavioral / Mental Health
  • General Wellness
  • Substance Use / Addiction
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Why we're applying to Solve:

After enduring depression through most of my 20's, I wanted to give those who struggle another tool that may not be available elsewhere.  For those who live alone or isolate themselves, having this app may be life saving.  I understand the moments that feel like the world is crashing down, and picking yourself up feels impossible.

Sforzandi provides a step in the right direction – a crucial bridge towards health.  If this app can prevent the spiral of depression, the user may have time to avoid turning to substances, food or another form of self medication.

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Our current partners:

My husband, Deniz Erkan a computer scientist.

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