xInspiration: The large prevalence of poor mental health in the American youth inspired us to create this interactive website. 1 in 5 American children between the ages of 13-18 report that they are not mentally well. This is an emergent problem that we feel needs to be resolved in a modern and simple way.
What it is: Our project is a website that provides the user with a survey upon entering. This survey contains questions linking to various potentially problematic emotions, and each of the answer options is assigned a point value in its emotional category. At the end of the survey, the total point values from each of the questions within their respective categories are added up, with higher point values being negative emotions and lower point values being positive emotions. The website then looks at which category point value was the highest, and then based off of that, it provides the user with recommended activities in order to streamline their thoughts, and guide them towards more positive emotions.
One of our customized activities that is a possible recommendation from the survey, is an interactive chatbot. This chatbot poses questions with a range of set responses, and based on the user’s responses, continues a conversation in order to guide them towards a mental or physical solution to their negative emotions.
Challenges we ran into: The first challenge that we encountered right off the bat, was attempting to decide what problem we would focus on, and how we would work towards solving it. After talking to each other, we realised that we had a stronger understanding of the digital world, and therefore chose to stick with a more digital approach. The mental illness prompt lent itself more easily to the digital way of doing things, so we chose to create a digital solution. We brainstormed as a group, and eventually came up with an idea we all felt comfortable with. We originally wanted to incorporate a geo-locator for nearby mental health clinics depending on the location of the user however that already exists and there isn’t a comprehensive dataset of locations that was available for our use so we decided to use a widget that links to the existing mental health clinic locator provided by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). One of the biggest problems that we ran into while designing our website, was that we lacked the knowledge of how to properly design an interactive website, and how to format and visualize our code. The interactive website workshop helped us understand how we could use bootstrap to incorporate CSS design files into our code, and create a smoother interface for our website. We ran into problems with node.js because nobody in our group had any real experience with it, and it took us a while to get used to it. We eventually understood how to use it and share it with each other with the help of one of the coding experts. One of the final problems we encountered was when we began to put the multiple parts of our project together, and trying to streamline it all into one website. This was hard because we first had to make separate space for each part of the project on the website’s design, and then had to find a way to combine multiple mediums and trains of thought into one streamlined and clean final product.
Accomplishments that we're proud of: One of our best moves as a team was effectively dividing our tasks based on our skill levels, and this greatly eased the process of developing the multiple components of the website. This also helped us hold a flexible schedule and not have to completely depend on each other to make progress on our work. One of the bigger things that our website achieves is that it has the ability to actively understand the user’s needs and provide them with personalized ideas for improvement. This distinguishes our creation from a generic blog post, and instead of suggesting outdated methods of dealing with certain emotions, it helps users deal with their emotions in a more modern, and technological way. We were able to implement bootstrap code that most of us had never used before, and were able to use it to design almost all of our website and make it refined. We are proud of our survey because it is composed of simple questions and would be a quick and captivating process for the user. This would help keep users coming back to the website and using our sources on a regular basis. We are proud of our interactive chatbot which has the ability to simulate live conversation, and this was hard to create since we had to incorporate a variety of options that could lead to different outcomes.
What we learned: Coming into this project most of our team had very limited knowledge about bootstrap, designing and customizing website. Through the resources, we were provided with the help of several experts which helped us to piece together enough information to learn the basics of bootstrap and bootswatch in order to organize our website. We also got a good feel for working towards a deadline, and this is an important skill that could potentially come in handy in our future. Another important job skill that we learned was teamwork. Most of us didn’t even know each other, but we were still able to grow comfortable with each other, express our ideas openly, and come to conclusions as a group without any major conflicts.
What's next for ChillMD: Moving forward, we could certainly add an AI component to the chatbot in order to create a wider range of comprehension and response from the bot itself, and to give the user more freedom in terms of conversation. We have the possibility of linking the account history with a google account or other popular social media, and this would help keep track of data over time and provide more complex solutions, to more complex feelings or problems. We can create location services in order to give more personalized real world recommendations for users to follow in case they require further help. We would constantly update our available activities and resources for users in order to provide them with a wide variety of options and keep them up to date.