Building Community to Support Mental Health
As a freshman studying aerospace engineering Ryan Venturi (University of Colorado, 2026) keeps his days jam-packed. He is a devoted member of the Beta Kappa Crescent Colony of Delta Tau Delta, a member of the Boulder FreeRide Club, and he is training for a triathlon. He is also passionate about mental health support and even created a mental health app in high school with his friends.
The process took about three years and Venturi started with no idea of how to get an app to market. IvySky began as just an idea a few friends came up with at a speech and debate tournament. Venturi reflected on suicides in his community and the limited response from local schools.
“I went through my own experience with mental health and realized there needed to be a better resource out there, and I saw that a lot of my friends felt the same way,” Venturi said.
Venturi and his friends partnered with a local car dealership to help raise money to support their idea — they raised more than $30,000 in revenue streams. Despite the strong financial backing, they maintained their original vision as they did not want to profit from mental health.
“I could not have done all of this amazing work without the amazing team. Community is the most important factor,” Venturi said.
Venturi connected with many skilled people by creating job postings on LinkedIn. For each posting, he and his friends filtered through about fifty applicants. They interviewed around 30 candidates for each position, focusing on choosing people with a genuine passion for the cause.
According to myivysky.org, “IvySky’s Mission is plain and simple. We are dedicated to decreasing suicide rates by working to build comprehensive resources and social campaigns. These resources will support everyone regardless of race, gender identity, socio-economic status, education level, political beliefs, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs.”
“There were about fifty interns and volunteers who collectively helped us develop the goal and build the whole app whether it was content development or protocol,” Venturi said.
When Venturi began work on IvySky he only had intermediate-level expertise in a coding language called Python from learning the basics of coding in a high school class.”
“It was a required class that I could probably just have skated through, but I ended up enjoying it so I just kind of took what they gave me and ran with it,” Venturi said.
From there, Venturi utilized Google to teach himself how to code the rest of the app as he went.
“In the future, it will have more community-based features as well as self-guided support, but right now the whole app is centered around self-guided well-being in the sense of yoga videos, journaling, life advice, and different features to help you navigate your day,” Venturi said.
Venturi emphasizes that IvySky will be able to help everyone, no matter their focus. All material created on the app is specifically made by and for IvySky.
Venturi can easily connect his experience launching an app to the app store to his connection with Delt values.
“Delta Tau Delta as a whole is about bettering oneself and making men the best version of themselves they can be. A lot of the interests I have developed through IvySky have allowed me to grow and hopefully help some people,” Venturi said.
Venturi focuses on the idea that each person using the app may need something different. IvySky provides multiple strategies and tips to individualize all users’ experiences.
“Mental health is not one size fits all,” Venturi said.