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Kelowna, B.C. technology company wins youth mental health challenge

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WATCH: A B.C. based organization has been chosen out of 76 companies across the globe to create innovative solutions for youth mental health. The company's app will provide information and support to anyone who needs it – Jun 9, 2022

A Kelowna, B.C., technology company has won the World Economic Forum’s Youth Mental Health Challenge, which is run by Salesforce and UNICEF.

Curatio and in partnership with Ontario-based company, OPTT is one of 14 winners who were chosen to create innovative solutions to address youth mental health.

“To have that type of global recognition around the importance of what we’re doing, the importance of mental health and addressing the need for mental health support just means the world to us, said Curatio CEO Lynda Brown-Ganzert.

“We combined together to really combine our platforms so that youth can have mental health support, in addition to patient-to-patient support for whatever condition they’re living with.”

Read more: Canadian journalists facing ‘alarming’ levels of mental health struggles: report

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The Curatio OPTT app is an online wellness platform designed specifically for youth.

“Curatio is what we call a social health prescription, so it is an app that any patient can use to connect to other patients that are going through the same thing,” said Brown-Ganzert.

“They can find trusted, curated, evidence-based information, programs, content, coaching and to track what they need to track on a day-to-day basis to find the best health outcomes.”

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Brown-Ganzert went on to say that a personal experience drew her to creating a platform that connects people who are going through the same thing.

“It’s really needed because there are a lot of people that are suffering on their own that don’t have the types of connections, or have others that they can talk to about this in an environment that is safe and supported and has the right information,” said Brown-Ganzert.

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Curatio has users in over 100 countries and in 15 languages but hope to reach even more people.

“No patient alone is our mission statement,” added Brown-Ganzert.

“We really want this type of support to be in the hands of every patient on the planet. And so, we’re just boldly continuing on with that mission.”

According to UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children Report, at least 13 per cent of people between the ages of 10 and 19 live with a diagnosed mental health disorder.

“Anxiety and depression account for more than 40 (per cent) of mental health disorders among young people aged 10 – 19” reads the Curatio press release.

Although most mental-health disorders arise during adolescence, UNICEF says that only one-third of investment in mental-health research is targeted towards young people.

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