Mental illness is the leading cause of disability in the world which can affect anybody, regardless of their background. While there has been a reduction in mental health stigma around the world, there is still a lot that needs to be done. Mental health among youth, for example, has been rapidly deteriorating over the years. This led us to explore possible solutions that can improve mental health. We invented an innovative solution that focuses on maintaining/improving well-being for the otherwise healthy individual (i.e. who may not be detected with a mental illness yet), because we believe all problems should be tackled proactively.
What it does
Helpmates scores individuals on a well-being scale and takes an inventory of their interests and requests for what kind of person they would want to connect with. Using machine learning algorithms, users will be given recommended profiles for them to connect with for 1:1 communication. This idea stemmed from scientific research that has revealed that something so simple as talking to another person can improve the state of your mental health.
In addition to this pairing to encourage communication, individuals can keep track of their well-being score over time and will be provided with tips to increase this score. There will also be a newsletter feature that all users have access to, which will include resources and information to learn about mental health and how to improve it.
Our primary goal is to encourage communication and provide information so that users can learn and take control of their own mental well-being.
How I built it
We completed several phases of the product cycle including user research, product ideation, and prototyping. We used Figma to design the app and sent it out to our prospective customers for feedback and improved the design. The next step in our product cycle is to implement the algorithms and equip helpmates with all the capabilities outlined in our deck.
Challenges I ran into
One of the major challenges we faced was scheduling all-hand meetings with our team since our members are spread across different countries. However we feel that being from different countries enhanced the diversity of our team!
We faced some challenges throughout these months in different phases of our product development, but we were able to combat these thanks to our collaborative discussion and our mentor!
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
We are proud that we were able to identify a gap in society that affects nearly everyone and that we created a concrete plan for a tangible solution to bridge this gap.
What I learned
As a team, each of us were able to gain soft and technical skills throughout this process and experienced the different phases of product development. The guidance provided by the Product Buds community led us to gain knowledge about Product Management and equipped us with the resources needed to create a product that can make a great social impact.
What's next for Helpmates
Now that we have validated our idea through market research, we plan to begin doing the backend work to create this product. We plan to build out the basic functionalities and incorporate algorithms to match users for 1:1 communication. In the future we see ourselves partnering with mental health experts (e.g., psychologists, clinicians, etc.) to provide consultations for individuals directly on the app and personalized tips that can help users improve their mental health.
All in all, we want to see helpmates grow so that it can improve well-being for lives across the globe!