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Created in just a few weeks as a response to the global health crisis, Lithuanian Act On Crisis app is already available for download in Lithuania. The initiative took second place among more than 1,000 projects from 100 countries in The Global Hack in April, a hackathon organised to identify solutions to ease the impact of COVID-19 around the world.
‘Mental gym’ on a smartphone
The Act on Crisis app provides comprehensive emotional balance services available on a smartphone: breathing techniques, anonymous chats with other members in virtual community rooms, and individual consultations with certified professionals.
During the quarantine, consultations are available free of charge and users can access private consultations from 16 professionals in multiple languages. The number of professionals is set to grow. Community rooms work as platforms to talk and share the experience with other users anonymously while specialist consultations are provided by video calls and the consultation time is booked in advance.
The app ensures complete anonymity: in community rooms, a member is identified by a coloured bubble while private video rooms comply with European Union data protection regulations.
‘A lot of people take care of their physical health on a regular basis, but often ignore their emotional fitness. We have created a tool that allows us to bring users together in a mental gym which encourages a daily care of emotional hygiene and helps to maintain a positive emotional balance,’ says AOC app founder Ieva Vaitkevičiūtė.
More than a tool to fight COVID-19
According to the team behind the project, Act On Crisis app will remain relevant after the pandemic.
‘It’s still common in society to turn to emotional health in the face of personal crisis. AOC project is interesting because promotes social change: emotional support here is a daily practice in which we seek improvement, learn to understand, name and control our emotions. Digitisation also helps to gain a fresh perspective on the way emotional support professionals work and get the opportunity to take care of the emotional well-being from any place, at any time,’ comments Valija Šap, President of the Lithuanian Psychological Association.
An app for the global market
Speaking about future plans, Vaitkevičiūtė assures that the start-up is designed for the European market, but the primary goal is to help people in their own country first.
‘Lithuania is our home and an ideal country to try new ideas. However, from the very beginning we have been developing a product for a global market and are currently actively considering development opportunities abroad,’ says Vaitkevičiūtė.
Act On Crisis has officially partnered with various NGOs such as Lithuanian Psychological Association and Mental Health Perspectives, Youth Line, and more. The initiative is also supported by HRMI Director and United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Physical and Mental Health Professor Dainius Pūras as well as the main psychologists in the field.
The AOC team consists of six psychology, IT, digital marketing and communication specialists living and working in Lithuania, Norway, and Germany. The application was developed in record time: a little over two weeks.
The rapid development of the AOC app amid this pandemic illustrates how the startup community in Vilnius responds to challenges with creative ideas and a collaborative spirit. From 3D printing Personal Protective Equipment for healthcare workers to developing spare parts for lung ventilators and creating new tools for small businesses to sell their products online – comprehensive solutions are being developed at extreme speeds to address the COVID-19 challenge in a timely manner.