Extensive studies posit that the structural, social, and individual-level challenges faced by LGBTQIA+ community are exacerbated during COVID-19. LGBTQIA+ folks sans pandemic face a higher percentage of mental health issues, and these disparities are worsened because of the removal or restriction of social spaces that once served as identity-affirming spaces (ex. schools and universities). Being isolated with unsupportive families, and loss of in-person identity-based socialization and support, lack of health insurance, legal identification for financial benefits, restricted access to HRT, increased incidence of abuse and domestic violence are all factors that increase psychological distress among LGBTQIA+ folks. Therefore, providing a space to safely and anonymously share individual experiences and coping skills while receiving coping resources and creating community is an essential part of supporting LGBTQIA+ mental health and community.

What it does

Our web-based platform, Kintsugi, provides identity-specific online spaces to connect with other LGBTQIA+ folks experiencing similar issues. People can post anonymous original posts & replies. They can navigate platform using tags to see if similar issues have been discussed before, and browse through identity-specific mental health resources.

How we built it

We built the app using HTML, CSS, ReactJS, and AWS Dynamo-DB.

Challenges we ran into

Figuring out which languages, frameworks to use was the first challenge we faced. Next figuring out what was feasible to learn and implement in the time given was second challenge. This was the first hackathon for all three of us, and for some members, the first time working on front-end. We had to obtain a working knowledge of Javascript, React, and Dynamo-DB to implement what we wanted to create.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We created a base for the app in a new environment and using technical tools like ReactJS and DynamoDB for the first time and successfully collaborated, communicated and divided work while being in 3 different time zones.

What we learned

Basics of front-end and back-end web-development, specifically how to use ReactJS for front-end and DynamoDB for back-end, and how to attend a hackathon!

What's next for Kintsugi

  • Connect front-end components with back-end through DynamoDB
  • Finish the design of the website,
  • Add a landing page with community guidelines and self-identification
  • Add tag system for searching relevant posts
  • Implement NLP/Machine learning to prevent/reduce violations of rules
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