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One day, Kathryn Young’s daughter asked her a question. “Mom, do I have to be beautiful all the time?” That question rocked Young to the core. She told her daughter her beauty comes from who she is, not how she looks on social media.
“Instagram is waiting to teach her the exact opposite message,” Young told The Black Wall Street Times. “The message I want my kid to receive and the message she will receive from the world is something I can’t just sit back and allow to happen.”
Kathryn Young is Chief Operations Officer for a social media app called Inpathy. Yet, she never expected to utilize her skills in mental health toward the design and implementation of a social media app.
For the past 10 years, Young worked in mental health, but she always had a problem with the high barriers to access, which forces those with low incomes or no insurance to be left out.
Originally wanting to work as a clinical social worker during the Obama administration, she landed a federal job working at a U.S. military base in Japan.
“That’s where I found my place,” Young told The Black Wall Street Times.
She began to deliver mental health services in a way that allowed her to innovate and problem solve.
“I believe there is a mask that is worn in military culture” that tells you how you must conduct yourself, behave, dress and show up, Young said.
Eventually, she learned what it meant to push people to see themselves past what they were trained to think. “That’s how I connected with Inpathy’s mission. Because we’re trying to solve a problem that mental health is trying to solve,” Young said.
Inpathy: A different kind of social media
Detroit native Ziarekenya Smith founded Inpathy to revolutionize how people use social media by creating a new era of social media that inspires transparency, normalizes moods, and recreates the human experience.
“Inpathy came to my mind because we need to create a more enjoyable, balanced, human-centered and transparent platform,” Smith told The Black Wall Street Times in 2021.
Believing firmly in the idea that people should feel free to express both negative and positive experiences and emotions in their life, Smith has gained massive support for his tech company.
As of May 2022, he connected with Kathryn Young, who became his Chief Operations Officer and his romantic partner. Together, they’re working to spread balance and healing in the digital realm.
With help from Young, Inpathy joined the Headstream by SecondMuse Accelerator Program that is supported by Pivotal Ventures, the innovation and incubation company created by Melinda Gates. Out of 350 applicants, Inpathy was one of just 12 selected for the program. The initiative encourages “impact over profit”, something Young says Inpathy is perfectly suited for.
“I helped write the grant and focused on yes, this is a hard giant to try to take down social media as we see it today, but it’s all about putting human needs first,” Young said.
Curing a “socially transmitted disease”
Ultimately, Young wants people like her daughter to feel free on social media instead of feeling the need to compare themselves to the filtered lives of others.
In recent years, studies have shown that social media apps like Instagram contribute to depression and anxiety among young teens, especially young girls.
“I’m comparing my everyday life, highs and lows, to your edited, filtered five percent of life you’re living,” Kathryn Young said, calling it a “socially transmitted disease.”
“Inpathy is not looking to replace social media’s current climate,” she added.
“What Inpathy wants people to realize is that the key is balance. It’s not to limit. It’s not to say ‘I’m gonna step out of the social media culture.’ It’s just to look for ways to also be able to show up authentically. It’s the ability to show empathy in your real life and your online life.
For more information, visit Inpathy’s website.