The members of our team share a friend that is dealing with mental health issues (depression). He doesn't like talking about them, nor does he want to reach out for help. Though reaching out and talking to people may be beneficial to him, it is not our place to tell him that the way he is handling this situation is wrong because we do not understand the actual depths of mental health issues. We hope that this website, to which we were so attached that we decided to pursue it after the hackathon, will make it easier and more comfortable for people like our buddy to seek aid.

What it does

Connect My Mind is a platform which allows patients of mental health issues to either locate local therapists with ease, or find the perfect fit for a therapist whom they can communicate with using Twilio services online. Patients will first sign up, and then select from the navigation bar whether they want to locate an online appointment or a local appointment. If a patient were to select a local appointment, they would then be prompted to select their state from a map of the United States, and then type in their zip code and the range of miles which they are willing to travel to for an appointment. Our service will then provide a list of registered therapists within that range, and the patients can read the therapist's descriptions and message whomever they would like to meet with. If a patient were to select an online appointment, our services would provide them with a list of our registered therapists (sorted by highest rated) and will then be prompted to contact whichever therapist who they like. The patient and the therapist will then be set up to communicate through our services using Twilio. Therapists can also register through the system and will be tested for credibility and trust throughout this process.

How we built it

We built this website using Node.js to run our back end. The node server ran on a VM instance hosted by Google Cloud’s Compute Engine. The Twilio integration is also written in JavaScript. We used React to create a beautiful, reactive, and functional layout for our front end. We used GitHub to collaborate efficiently. The use of pull requests lets our other team members review each other's changes and find flaws or areas for improvement. The use of GitHub actions let us find errors or bugs before deployment, speeding our workflow up greatly.

Challenges we ran into

Our team challenged our ability to work effectively together by assigning each other with roles that we weren't familiar with. Front-end and back-end teammates were switched, and we were able to use this as a learning opportunity. Though this was fun and improved our teamwork, time became a major issue as we were forced to teach other how to complete tasks as we were doing them. We hacked for 21 hours straight, and this time could have been shortened drastically had we stuck to our roles. We also challenged ourselves through the prize track, by trying to teach ourselves about the sponsor's services and implementing them into our project. One of the most challenging parts about the hackathon was trying to implement Twilio, as we had never worked with an API like it.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are proud of the fact that we were able to start and finish a website within a day, on top of handling different roles than we would any other day. We are also proud of the fact that our product is one that would help many people suffering from mental illness throughout the world, and that it would make a difference in many people's lives.

What we learned

We learned all about how to efficiently use GitHub to work as a team. We utilized many different actions to make GitHub work as productively as possible. We also learned how to coordinate ourselves as a team after working in roles which we weren't used to.

What's next for Connect My Mind

As we said earlier, we plan on taking this hack to the next stage, and making this into an actual project. We hope this service can change lives for many out there, and we want to keep working at this project until it's as technically efficient and strong as possible.

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