The Callie App

Original article was published by Stephanie Wan on Artificial Intelligence on Medium

Editor: Crystal Juan

The COVID-19 pandemic has no doubt been a fatal threat to our physical health, but many have overlooked the long-term psychological impact the virus has on our community. Healthcare workers on the frontline of this global crisis confront weekly if not daily traumatic experiences. With the rapid spread of COVID-19, communal support for these healthcare workers fell to the wayside.

Cress Health, a startup founded by college students passionate about mental health, believes that adequate support is paramount in the success of any workplace. The Cress App launched this past year, targeting healthcare workers by creating a platform where they could access peer support communities, personal journals, and personalized insights. Having successful partnerships with institutions such as AMITA Health, one of the largest healthcare systems in the Midwest, Cress Health decided to extend these services beyond the realm of healthcare. We are proud to announce the launch Callie — our new app of similar services for the general public.

Meet Callie — your personal wellness companion for your mental health journey. As an Artificial Intelligence (AI), Callie has the capabilities to hold conversations with you and personalize responses to best suit what you need to hear/do. Oftentimes, we are frustrated over the lack of understanding of our own emotions. Let’s say you are experiencing an energy drop during the day, leading to decreased productivity and more guilt towards yourself. A vicious cycle that we habitually trap ourselves in, taking a toll on our psychological health. To break free from destructive thoughts, we need to trigger our “happy hormones” — endorphins. Through self-affirmation exercises that Callie offers, not only would you get a virtual pat on the back but also the motivation to perform your routine that sets off endorphins in your brain. As you interact with Callie, you are connecting with the app through chatting, and it’s simultaneously learning about you too. Instead of receiving mental health advice unilaterally, Callie acknowledges your emotions and succors you to the root of your stressors non-judgmentally.

Humans are wired with the Negativity Bias, and this refers to our tendency to register negative stimuli more readily than neutral and positive ones. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some of us beat ourselves up for taking a day off even when we have been previously hustling for three months straight. To combat the bias and address the mind, we have to focus on the body first. As you continue to build a relationship with Callie, it’ll provide you with personal insight cards by asking questions about your personal lifestyle. For instance, if you typically go for a run after work to destress, Callie will kindly suggest this part of your routine to mitigate the potential stress you might experience when skipping it. Once your body is taken care of, Callie checks in with your inner emotions. With our rigorous schedules, we constantly downplay our feelings. By putting a label on your emotions, identifying the source of your stressor, and quantifying your energy & stress levels, Callie allows you to understand yourself better through recognition from her database.

Technology is changing the way we approach healthcare. With COVID-19, the role of Telehealth is further amplified. Callie is here to help people steer away from feelings of powerlessness by creating accessibility to personalized mental health resources. Not only does Cress Health’s Callie empower people on an individual basis, but it strives to destigmatize conversations surrounding mental health on a larger scale. This pandemic not only inspired both large and small businesses to permanently work remotely, but this unprecedented era has reshaped our lifestyle and ultimately how we access services.

Get started with Callie today: