Published 03/26/2020 | Reading Time 4 min 9 sec
By Deon Osborne, Senior Writer
Designed to be an inspirational living and self-care mobile application that serves as a personal guide to mental, physical, and emotional success, Elevate was recently launched in Android and IOS app stores.
Three African-American Co-founders, two of them former roommates from Pennsylvania’s Lincoln University, launched the health and wellness app after realizing similar apps don’t address the specific issues that marginalized communities face. Users of Elevate experience daily inspirational quotes and readings, self- improving challenges, interactive videos and podcasts from black brown and white speakers, and access to external mental wellness hotlines.
“Elevate does serve a universal audience; however, a lot of research and development was done based upon the African American community,” Warrick said.
Warrick said he and his team went out to work with people of color as a foundation because, while there are other similar apps out there, “the way they produce content and the content available may not be the best solutions for us because they don’t go through the same or similar problems,” Warrick said.
With mental health treatment vastly underfunded in the U.S., nearly one in five Americans have some form of a mental illness. Suicide has risen to become a top 10 causes of death among adults and the number two cause of death among 10 to 34-year-olds, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Co-founder Greg Wilson has a background in community service and biology from the D.C. area. He said Elevate has no limit on the age, race or gender of its users. “Everyone needs to be cared for. Everyone goes through struggles and problems,” Wilson said.
After downloading the app, it first prompts users to choose words on the screen that best link to the emotions or mental state the user is currently feeling. Whether positive or negative, the app tailors the unique experience of the app to the user’s initial choices.
The app also hosts a community forum where users can become content generators, sparking discussions with other users. For users who don’t feel comfortable sharing their mental wellness journey with others, Elevate offers the ability for users to gain wisdom, guidance and inspiration on an anonymous platform.
Dante Wade is a community advocate and public speaker from the South Ward of Newark, NJ who roomed with Aaron Warrick at Lincoln University. Wade said he wants the Elevate app to become a household name for millions of people and a daily contrast to depression-inducing social media apps.
“For people who already feel positive, we want them to sustain it. So we have content geared towards that as well,” Wade said.
Above all, the team hopes users will erase the stigma around addressing mental health needs by creating a vast community of self-caring individuals producing tangible results. “Our goal is to grow not just as a company but as a lifestyle to be able to support all of these individuals,” CEO Aaron Warrick said.
The app, “Elevate–Mental Health Inspirational Self-Care,” can be downloaded on both Android and IOS devices in the app store.
Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has written for OU’s student newspaper the OU Daily as well as OKC-based Red Dirt Report. He now lives in Tulsa, where he works at a local youth shelter. He is also a former intern at Oklahoma Policy Institute.