Connecting people of color to mental healthcare


“HeyBud, how are you feeling?” Searching for mental health treatment can be scary, daunting, triggering, and nearly impossible for those that are unfamiliar. In addition, People of Color (POC) receive significantly less mental healthcare treatment and have specific needs in order to ensure treatment is effective. Among the factors that influence the treatment effectiveness, many patients report the lack of mutual cultural connection with therapists as one of their main concerns. We introduce a tool that helps inexperienced POC to explore options available to them and connect to people who they can form bond with; we introduce heybud

What is Heybud?

Heybud is a self-guided website that helps people who have no prior experience on mental health care choose the best path for them. Heybud makes user-aware recommendations that match users to their next step, and help POC students find the therapists that they can connect with.

Who are we helping?

Heybud targets people of color and those who may not be familiar with navigating the mental healthcare field. The mental healthcare field tends to utilize psychological jargon or rely on the individual’s commitment to therapy. Heybud holds the user’s hand every step of the way to ease the process of finding care.

User Example: Sami is a first generation college student from China. She is also the child of immigrant parents. She suspects symptoms of depression and stress from school, but she is not sure if she should seek professional help. By using heybud, she finds a therapist that relates to her lived experience.


Utilized data from psychological market and research tools to investigate availability of POC-specific resources. Additionally conducted research to investigate the number and availability of POC providers.

UI/UX design

We designed an interaction happy path in Figma to represent the user story.
The design of the product is warm & bubbly to welcome a younger poc demographic.


  • Onboarding first-time users
  • Psychology-backed indexes to score users on likelihood and severity of mental illness
  • Questionnaires to assess treatment preference & level of hesitancy in receiving clinical treatment
  • Language preferences to support multilingual students & POC families

Backend Development

Technology/Tools: JavaScript, Python, HTML

The backend of the project is fairly straightforward. We created an algorithm that matches our user with different therapists based on their needs and priorities. To integrate with the front-end framework, the compatibility score algorithm is written in JavaScript. Various metrics including Jaccard similarity, Cosine similarity and keyword matching are used to calculate compatibility between user and therapist in different areas, and the final results are weighted based on user values. To test the capability of our algorithm, we generated a pool of random therapists with python to evaluate the quality of the prediction.

Frontend Development

Technology/Tools: Visual Studio Code, Bootstrap 5 Front-end Framework (HTML, CSS, JavaScript)

The frontend portion was developed as according to the Figma designed by the UX/UI Designer with the support of the whole team. The frontend was responsible for designing and formatting the webpages and their UI to perform basic functionality throughout the website. A few edits were made throughout the process as the concept from ideation to creation. The process was mostly straight-forward with a bit of experimentation on Bootstrap’s functionalities specifically regarding the quiz and demographics multiple choice options. To explain further, it was particularly challenging integrating backend development with frontend development, but most tasks worked out in the end!

What’s Next:

We see enormous potential for Heybud, we believe that more features can be add to improve the user experiences Peer-to-peer support: By partnering with universities, we will be able to expand the number of existing peer to peer supporters. These peers will be professionally trained, enabling non-clinical support (i.e. a shoulder to lean on). This will help people who are hesitant to reach for professional treatment and just want to talk to someone. User-driven Heuristic System: As heybud meets more users, its ability to recommend therapists will improve. Taking data from successful matches, it will be able to more accurately correlate which user profiles tend to successfully match with what types of providers. More features for Better Matching: We recognize that an individual’s identity is intersectional and complex, as heybud grows, we aim to expand the number of options users may select in heybud’s assessment to find the right provider for them

Challenges we ran into

  1. The programmers have no experience using Figma and initially followed the design layout.
  2. The development platform for the programmers was uncertain, because the programmers planned different ways they could create an application, from a mobile application to a website application using different programming languages and tools.
  3. Backend users learned to use JavaScript for the first time and integrated with the HTML format to create interactive components of the website.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

  • Worked harmoniously as a team that combines research, design, & developers!
  • Learning a new programming language!
  • Completed interactive design prototype in figma
  • Becoming friends <3
  • Scheduled in breaks for our brains
  • Hired a quality assurance doggo to keep up our spirits up
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