August 10, 2023

Women of Color Mental Health App Wins Brooklyn AI Tech Competition

Libbie Health

Libbie Health, an AI-powered app that gives women of color tools to reduce anxiety, was announced the winner of this year’s Make It in Brooklyn pitch contest.

Libbie Health

The app was founded by behavioral health coach Colette Ellis in 2022 to address racial and cultural disparities in mental health care.

It also aims to create positive health outcomes for women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+ and marginalized leaders.

Ellis was trained in Emotional-Freedom Technique (EFT) tapping in 2013 and began building it into her client work.

“If you’ve ever been in a situation where you smelled something and it triggered a memory or were touched in a certain way, and it triggered a memory, that’s because so much of our experiences are stored in our bodies and cells,” Ellis told BKReader.

“And so, it’s healing through tapping or ways of helping to release those charges from our nervous system and get ourselves back to a more grounded state of healing or homeostasis.”

Tapping is a somatic therapy that involves using one’s fingertips to tap on specific points on the body – mainly on the head and upper body – while speaking about the issue which regulates one’s nervous system, Ellis said.

She first had the idea to digitize the therapy in 2019 to put information about tapping directly into people’s hands and guide them through the process with an AI chatbot.

Libbie app

After the pandemic, Ellis shared her idea at a New York Tech Meetup and was contacted by a conversation designer.

On the app, you can chat with Libbie about how you’re feeling and learn to tap them away with step-by-step guidance.

Ellis is also building the app intentionally to be responsive to issues women of color frequently face – such as microaggressions – and caring for moms of color postpartum.

Make It in Brooklyn Initiative

Make It in Brooklyn is Downtown Brooklyn Partnership’s initiative to support and highlight entrepreneurship and cultivate a lasting innovation ecosystem throughout Brooklyn.

This year, their contest, “2023 AI Tech for Good Pitch Contest,” focused specifically on Brooklyn entrepreneurs using AI to make the world a better place.

After being announced as the 2023 winner, Ellis won a $5,000 cash prize and in-kind legal services from Brooklyn Law Incubator and Policy Clinic at Brooklyn Law School.

She said the funds will help her as she continues to improve the Libbie Health app ahead of a funding round and the proposed launch date of Q1 2024.

Sara Keenan

Tech Reporter at POCIT. Following her master's degree in journalism, Sara cultivated a deep passion for writing and driving positive change for Black and Brown individuals across all areas of life. This passion expanded to include the experiences of Black and Brown people in tech thanks to her internship experience as an editorial assistant at a tech startup.