App designed by teens for teens who suffer from depression, anxiety, and extreme stress


Kristel Kinder

Andy Ha

Chloe Grundmeier, Editor-in-Chief

Imagine everything you love no longer being enjoyable, and just going outside is a chore. Imagine feeling the need to do everything, attend everything, and be everywhere, and if you miss one thing you hate yourself. Imagine needing to do everything but never wanting to leave. Teens with depression and anxiety suffer from these feelings on a daily basis.

Amanda Arellano, Chloe Westphal, Stephanie Lopez, and Marina Stepanov are students at Tri-Tech Skills Center and have spent the last few weeks working on an app to help teens recognize how they feel and learn more about depression, anxiety, and extreme stress. “The Safe and Sound app does not replace professional help or diagnosis, but I like to think of this app as the stepping stool for teens to use to reach out for help,” Kristel Kinder, the girls’ advisor at Tri-Tech, said.

Arellano, Westphal, Lopez, and Stepanov were recognized for their hard work at creating this app by being awarded first place in the Verizon Innovative App Challenge. The girls were given the opportunity to attend the national science fair in Washington D.C. because of this honor and even had the chance to meet Bill Nye the Science Guy. “Words cannot express my excitement for these girls. They have worked hard to get to where they are now,” Kinder said.

This app was created to try to prevent school shootings linked to depression, anxiety, and extreme stress. The app has four distinct functions. It offers information on extreme stress, anxiety, and depression. It also explains signs and symptoms. Links are also offered to other sources where users can get more information.

The Safe and Sound app also has a function for daily stress management. This function offers breathing and exercise techniques that have been proven to help lower stress levels while also giving the user a daily encouragement.

The app will also include a journal in which the user can write or speak their feelings. Kinder said, “This journal offers multiple benefits for the user. Just talking about their feelings and getting it down on paper – or device in this case – helps to alleviate their stress.” The app even date and time stamps each entry to help the user go back to these feelings when speaking to a professional.

Finally, there is resource section where the user can find national hotlines to call in a time of need. This section also allows the user to enter the contact information of close family and friends so if they are ever in a crisis they can have easy access. Kinder believes the most important feature of this function is the inclusion of a few example conversation starters for the user to refer to when reaching out to someone.

“The girls have really done 100 percent of the coding. Throughout the process and during the app building – which is still currently happening – they spend a couple of hours each week outside of class time. They have all taken on a leadership role to build and eventually complete the app along with the additional media coverage and requests. They all deserve to be recognized for their hard work, commitment, perseverance and leadership!” Kinder said.