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ShockTalk is a telebehavioral app that connects Native users to Native therapists trained and experienced in cultural humility

About the Project


ShockTalk seeks to decrease adverse mental health effects in Native American and Alaska Natives by connecting users to Native therapists trained and experienced in cultural humility through a telebehavioral and wellbeing app focused on healing unresolved historical and intergenerational trauma.

The aggressive interactions that can stem from topics such as mascots or cultural loss invoke trauma responses within Native users. Due to the combination of historical, intergenerational, and contemporary social traumas experienced by Native Individuals, it is regular and common for people to have their sympathetic nervous system highly stimulated by these platforms. More specifically, the hyperstimulation of the sympathetic nervous system produces a fight-or-flight response in both active users and results in the reactions and aggressive behavior seen on platforms like Facebook.

When this happens to a sufficient extent, Native users respond by withdrawing from the platform in question as part of a broader fight-or-flight response that is activated by the nervous system. ShockTalk represents that space that they can go to to get the tools they need while still maintaining connection to community. ShockTalk’s support section will include tools to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system’s calming response while connecting them to an Indigenous therapist.

While they take a break from the type of direct engagement offered on Facebook, they can come back to ShockTalk to share and enjoy Indigenous content in a format similar to instagram in the sense that it is not a place for status updates and public commentary but content driven. It is not a microblogging platform, it is a content platform with social features.

How far along is it

We currently have a rapid-prototype and are in the process of developing our web concierge before we begin serving our customers. In one year, we hope to be initially serving the 32,887 Urban Natives of the NYC Metro before expanding outwards into the greater tri-state area. By year five, we hope to be serving a large portion of the 5.2 million Indigenous peoples here on Turtle Island.

Project target location
North America

Project details

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