‘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.

Blankets, bed-sharing common in accidental baby suffocations

In this March 22, 2012 file photo, a doctor demonstrates how an infant can die due to unsafe sleeping practices using a scene re-enactment doll in Norfolk, Va. (AP)
Updated 22 April 2019

Blankets, bed-sharing common in accidental baby suffocations

  • The authors studied 2011-2014 data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention registry of deaths in 10 states
  • Young babies can’t easily move away from bedding or a sleeping parent; all of the study deaths were in infants younger than 8 months old

CHICAGO: Accidental suffocation is a leading cause of injury deaths in US infants and common scenarios involve blankets, bed-sharing with parents and other unsafe sleep practices, an analysis of government data found.
These deaths “are entirely preventable. That’s the most important point,” said Dr. Fern Hauck, a co-author and University of Virginia expert in infant deaths.
Among 250 suffocation deaths, roughly 70 percent involved blankets, pillows or other soft bedding that blocked infants’ airways. Half of these soft bedding-related deaths occurred in an adult bed where most babies were sleeping on their stomachs.
Almost 20 percent suffocated when someone in the bed accidentally moved against or on top of them, and about 12 percent died when their faces were wedged against a wall or mattress.
The authors studied 2011-2014 data from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention registry of deaths in 10 states. The results offer a more detailed look at death circumstances than previous studies using vital records, said lead author Alexa Erck Lambert, a CDC researcher.
The authors said anecdotal reports suggest there’s been little change in unsafe sleep practices in more recent years.
“It is very, very distressing that in the US we’re just seeing this resistance, or persistence of these high numbers,” Hauck said.
The study was published Monday in Pediatrics.
For years, the US government and the American Academy of Pediatrics have waged safe-sleep campaigns aimed at preventing accidental infant suffocations and strangulations and sudden infant death syndrome. These include “back to sleep” advice promoting having babies sleep on their backs, which experts believe contributed to a decline in SIDS deaths over nearly 30 years. But bed-sharing has increased, along with bed-related accidental suffocations — from 6 deaths per 100,000 infants in 1999 to 23 per 100,000 in 2015, the researchers note.
Dr. Rachel Moon, a University of Virginia pediatrics professor not involved in the study, said the results are not surprising.
“Every day I talk to parents who have lost babies. They thought they were doing the right thing, and it seems safe and it seems OK, until you lose a baby,” Moon said.
Some studies have found bed-sharing increases breastfeeding and it’s common in some families because of cultural traditions. Others simply can’t afford a crib.
Erika Moulton, a stay-at-home mom in suburban New York, said bed-sharing was the only way her son, Hugo, would sleep as a newborn. Moulton struggled with getting enough sleep herself for months, and while she knew doctors advise against it, bed-sharing seemed like the only option.
Now 14 months old, “he’s still in our bed,” she said. “Trying to transition him out is a little difficult.”
The pediatricians group recommends that infants sleep on firm mattresses in their own cribs or bassinets but in their parents’ room for the first year. A tight-fitting top sheet is the only crib bedding recommended, to avoid suffocation or strangulation.
Young babies can’t easily move away from bedding or a sleeping parent; all of the study deaths were in infants younger than 8 months old.