‘YouPositive’ puts a modern spin on finding a healthy mental balance

YouPositive targets people between the ages of 18 and 50. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 02 August 2018

‘YouPositive’ puts a modern spin on finding a healthy mental balance

  • Start-up is an online platform that focuses on mental well-being and self-development
  • YouPositive is an online platform, founded in Jeddah in March 2017

JEDDAH: Mental health has a huge effect on quality of life, so taking steps to care for and improve it can help us to live our lives to the full. It can make it easier, for example, to build healthier relationships, make better life choices, maintain our physical health, cope better with life’s natural ups and downs, and discover and reach our full potential.

YouPositive is an online platform, founded in Jeddah in March 2017, that focuses on mental well-being and self-development. Its website features a quote from Roman Price, founder of LifePulp, the motivational and inspirational social network, in which he says: “If you’re searching for that one person who will change your life … take a look in the mirror.” This perfectly illustrates the YouPositive mission, which is to encourage people to find ways to become better versions of themselves.

This project, aimed primarily at people between the ages of 18 and 50, offers online and offline life coaching and psychological counseling from certified and licensed professionals.

When she graduated with a degree in finance, YouPositive founder and CEO Zahra Al-Mohanna did not imagine she would eventually end up working in a field related to psychology.

“I was working on a completely different business plan before shifting to YouPositive,” said the 32-year-old. 

“One day I was sitting in the living room with my mother and I received a call from one of my closest friends. Her personality is very similar to many people around us, that of a lost person who cannot make a decision related to their personal emotional life and status,” she said.

“My friend had been suffering from a serious problem for two years and I found myself involved in the matter even though I had nothing to do with it. She was suffering from her relationship with her family and herself and could not find the right help. She went to a psychiatrist who gave her medicines though she did not need them; she wasn’t ill, she just needed help. That made her depressed and she was asking herself, ‘Am I I really ill?’

“She was talking for two full hours, nonstop. I was fed up, and in the middle of the conversation I asked myself, why when we feel upset or have a problem do we not know where to go? I interrupted her and said, ‘You know what, this is a great business idea.’ When I got off the phone with her, I went to my laptop and started a totally new business plan.”

Al-Mohanna found and met experts in the field, refining her ideas until she came up with YouPositive, a modern way to provide self-development assistance and emotional support in an easy and comfortable way. It aspires to help people become the best version of themselves, thus creating a healthier society and a better tomorrow for everyone.

“YouPositive is a message,” she said. “I wanted people to get my message from the name, directly. I want people to understand that the way they live, and the way they control their thinking is in their hands. Positivity is a choice. We want to deliver a message of self-acceptance of the lives we’re living, and look at the positive side of it and understand that we also need the negative because it pushes us to move forward.”

YouPositive, she said, was created to answer the question that comes to mind when people feel stuck or trapped and are wondering where they should go, who should they talk to, and how?

“I wanted a person to be with me 24 hours a day in my bucket,” said Al-Mohanna. “When I feel stuck and I need someone to pull me out of this situation, I want him or her to be available to talk to me immediately.”

YouPositive offers life coaching and psychological counseling sessions online or through video and voice calls, depending on the client’s preference. In addition there are offline face-to-face sessions, in a group or one-to-one. They cover four areas: the self, parenting and childhood, career and income, and relationships.

A life coach can help people attain their goals, both personal and professional. A counseling psychologist listens to a patient’s problems and offers advice on coping with them.

The online coaching sessions are designed to offer clients a flexible appointment from the comfort of their own home or place of work. Privacy is assured and clients can opt to remain anonymous.

In addition, YouPositive has recently started organizing public events to raise awareness of its work and the ideas behind the project.

Zahraa Al-Mohanna, 32, founder and CEO of YouPositive. 

“We discovered that people need to interact with you directly to trust you, because our business is built upon people’s trust in us — without it they wouldn’t take a risk using our services since our field of activity is so sensitive,” said Al-Mohanna. “We started during Ramadan to test peoples’ interaction and spread awareness. People do not know what life coaching and counseling means; they usually think it’s therapy but it is not. We discovered that we began to gain trust and receive more clients.”

YouPositive’s activities include support groups, group counseling and life coaching. They cover several topics, including self-love, self-development, self-awareness, education and planning.

“I think what YouPositive is doing is excellent and so helpful,” said Abdulkhaliq Hanifi, from Madinah, who took part in one of the public events. “I attended a support-group event about loss and grief; it was really helpful. I also took seven minutes of free sessions and it was a great experience.

“I believe they should have more public events to raise awareness of the importance of psychological health, because we lack that awareness in our society.”

Al-Mohanna hopes that YouPositive will be available throughout Saudi Arabia within three years, and across the Gulf region within five years.

“We want to be ... an easy-access service that can help people overcome any crisis in their lives, whether related to the self, relationships, planning, business or anything else,” she said.

“We created YouPositive to suit our culture, which is a unique culture. We would like to be in the whole Middle East and North Africa region, and worldwide, in the near future, but we are focused for now on Saudi Arabia — our community is the main reason that we created YouPositive,” according to Al-Mohanna.

Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection

This electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health shows a human T cell, in blue, under attack by HIV, in yellow, the virus that causes AIDS. (AP)
Updated 19 March 2019

Nearly four in 10 US HIV infections from people unaware of infection

  • The Trump administration has said it will invest $291 million in the next financial year to fight HIV/AIDS, which has plateaued since 2013 to around 39,000 annual transmissions

WASHINGTON: Almost 40 percent of new HIV cases in the US occur because people do not know they are infected, while a similar proportion know but are not in treatment, according to a study released Monday.
The report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is based on 2016 data and aims to bolster a strategy outlined by President Donald Trump to end the epidemic within 10 years.
The strategy has two main strands: far more widespread screening, and enabling the infected better access to treatment from the moment they test positive.
The study found that 38 percent of infections came from HIV-positive people who were unaware of their status, and 43 percent from people who knew they were infected but took no anti-retroviral drugs.
The remaining infections came from people who were receiving HIV treatment but were not yet “virally suppressed.”
The CDC blamed financial, social and other reasons for people not using medication, which these days typically comes in the form of a daily pill with minimal side effects.
The study said that the infection rate from the half million people in the United States who take medication and are virally suppressed — meaning they cannot pass on the disease to others — was zero.

The most at-risk group remains homosexual men, with almost three-quarters of new infections coming from men having sex with men, the report said.
Five percent of infections came from intravenous drug abuse among homosexual men, while 10 percent came from injecting drugs among the rest of the population.
Twelve percent of infections were among heterosexuals. Overall, the highest rate of transmission was among 13 to 24-year-olds.
The Trump administration has said it will invest $291 million in the next financial year to fight HIV/AIDS, which has plateaued since 2013 to around 39,000 annual transmissions.
The goal is to reduce that number by 75 percent within five years and by 90 percent in 10 years.
Questioned about the relatively small amount of money earmarked for the multi-billion dollar task of treating HIV carriers, CDC head Robert Redfield said he was “confident that the resources that are required to accomplish this mission are in the long term plan.”
The CDC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, wants doctors to make HIV screening a routine procedure.
“Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime,” said Eugene McCray, the head of the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
“Those at higher risk should get tested at least annually,” he said.
“The key to controlling is helping those with HIV to control the virus,” said the CDC’s Jonathan Mermin, who focuses on preventing the spread of the HIV as well as other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and hepatitis.
“Time spent working closely with patients who are having trouble paying for, picking up or taking their daily medications is time well spent“