Shine’s Mental Health Relief During COVID-19

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Spotlight on Shine

At a time when many people across the world are experiencing stress and anxiety due to the pandemic, it is critical people have access to health care resources. Shine, a self-care app founded in 2016 by Marah Lidey and Naomi Hirabayashi, is designed to foster a digital support community and bring mental health resources to its members. As the spread of coronavirus continues to amplify existing inequities across our health care system, the founders identified an opportunity to help those who need it most.

Within 48 hours of stay-at-home orders, Lidey and Hirabayashi launched a site, in partnership with Mental Health America as a free resource center focused on managing the anxiety, uncertainty, and stress caused by COVID-19. Much of the app’s success is based on therapy and coaching solutions, which the founders incorporated into the free Virus Anxiety website by setting up a text line that is answered by a crisis counselor at any hour of the day.  Core to Shine’s mission is removing the associated stigma attached to struggles with mental health—both environmental and biological.

Encouraging people to share their experiences normalizes issues that are in fact quite commonplace, but without open dialogue challenges can seem insurmountable. A particularly vulnerable group the founders are passionate about are youth, who may not have the skills to convey emotional struggles, access to relevant resources, or an understanding of available solutions. Through the Shine Initiative, the company regularly partners with school districts and nonprofit organizations to bring this peer-based support to children via their favorite digital channel—mobile phones.

As female founders of a tech company and both women of color, the co-founders are determined to drive social change, setting an example for female entrepreneurs as well as communities of color. In response to Black Lives Matter, Shine commits to advocating for Black mental health by increasing the output of content specific to racial trauma and by continuing to represent Black voices that speak to issues the Black community faces. Shine has also made donations to Reclaim the Block—a Black-owned Minneapolis organization devoted to reallocating the city’s money from the police department toward community-led safety initiatives and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund to help cover the legal costs for protestors.

The statistics speak for themselves. Representation matters. Over 82% of Shine’s employees are POC, 25% identify as Black, while Shine is used by millions of people in over 165 countries, 40% of users are non-white, with 93% of its users stating the app has contributed to their overall wellbeing.

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About Brand Acts of Kindness® 

Brand Acts of Kindness® is a series from Carpenter Group that spotlights companies across industries that are living their brand values in addressing the unprecedented challenges facing the world today.

The series initially headlined companies assisting healthcare workers and first responders, as well as communities, businesses and families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We also highlight brands taking the lead in supporting social and racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sustainability and the environment. Their stories show how innovation, resolve and action, built on a solid value proposition, can both strengthen a brand and help create a better world.

About Carpenter Group

Carpenter Group is an independent, woman-owned strategic branding, messaging and marketing communications firm that has delivered results-driven solutions to financial, professional services and technology firms for 30+ years.

Our broad cross-discipline experience enables us to craft brand messaging and carry it through to the channels that most effectively connect with our clients’ target audience, from editorial content to advertising to event marketing and more.