Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. Not enough safe conversation is conducted around mental health, despite 59.6% of college students feeling at some point each year like things are hopeless (2016 Canadian National College Health Assessment). As UBC students, we recognize the importance of mental health, and strive to create an uplifting community where these harder conversations are accepted, unshamed, and encouraged.

What it does

Many students actively seek guidance but mental health resources on campus are limited. Counsel Connect connects students that want to share and are willing to listen with other students in similar positions. This creates a safe community where students can share problems and advice. Each week, students can sign up to be matched with another student, who they then reach out to and chat with. This allows students to gain different perspectives and advice on their problems. At the same time, they help other students by providing a listening ear.

How I built it

We downloaded Visual Studio Code and imported a basic HTML webpage template. From there, team members worked on different parts of the platform, such as user interface, graphical design and CSS. Github was used to manage workflow and push and pull code.

Challenges I ran into

Initially, the goal was to create a mental health platform with multiple features and services, but the team quickly realized that given the time constraints and lack of previous experience, the website functionality had to be narrowed. Despite this, Counsel Connect retains the original intention by addressing and challenging the issues seen in conversations around mental health.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Having a team where none of the members have the previous web developing experience, we are amazed that we were able to create a functional website using HTML. We are also proud that through this website, we were able to challenge a topic that we are passionate about addressing.

What I learned

Skills like cloning a repository and using the terminal. We ran into many merge issues when pushing and pulling from github as some of our team members were very new to this. We were also very excited when we got very comfortable with using the command terminal to push and pull. Additionally coding in HTML, CSS and Javascript was done for the first time today by team members. Having less than 12 hours to learn all these skills and combine them to create a product is a milestone for us.

What's next for Counsel Connect

Counsel Connect can be adapted to include increased services, support, and user experience. A review system of matches can increase trust and security within platform users. Moving forward, AI technology can be incorporated to provide students with tailored advice on their situations. Due to time constraints, we were unable to implement the backend matching algorithm, and this should be done. To maintain diversity and inclusivity, it would be a random matching algorithm, within the constraints of the tailored specifications.

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