Inspiration

In many cultures, when you ask for therapy, you are looked down upon. When you can care about your physical health without any sort of embarrassment, why is caring about your mental health not normal? Furthermore, people across the world also struggle greatly with accepting and identifying the fact that they need mental help. With Libra, we want to do two things: firstly, remove the stigma surrounding therapy, and secondly, track your mental well-being for you.

What it does

Libra has three key features:

  1. Daily check-in - When the user creates an account, they are prompted to answer questions from the DSM-5 criteria (official criteria to identify mental illness) in the initial check-up questions. Based on the response, the app generates an emotional happiness rating and suggests the user seek therapy through the application (if required). If the user chooses to seek therapy, they will be directed to pick one of their suggested therapists, meeting time, and communication method. Otherwise, the app will continue to give the user daily mood checks. If it’s below 50% for a long period of time, the app will prompt another suggestion for therapy.
  2. In-app real-time messaging function - The application features a function for the user to safely text and express their conditions to a licensed therapist if the user does not want to see the therapist face-to-face. By implementing the function, we have provided a more gentle and immediate way for users who are in need, no matter when or where they are.
  3. In-app video chat - The application features a private video feature that allows the user to connect directly with their therapist. The user can refer to it and the summary notes given by the therapist after the session is over in the history tab. This makes it easier for them to keep track of their discussions with the therapist.

How we built it

Both the back-end and the front-end of the application were written primarily in Swift, and Firebase was set up to authenticate users and to store user data as well as retrieve it in real-time. We utilized a number of plugins and libraries to further improve the user experience.

Challenges we ran into

The virtual nature of our collaboration made it difficult for us to troubleshoot together. As we used different versions of XCode, some of our storyboards were conflicted in the process of merging our programs together. That being said, we were able to navigate through them with Google and Youtube.

Accomplishments that we’re proud of

We’re proud of creating a solution for a problem we know all too well. Given our experiences of booking a therapy session, Libra is the solution we needed during high school. Furthermore, as recent learners of iOS development, we are especially proud of completing the project in such a short amount of time. We were initially unsure about if we could implement all the necessary features on time, but with a lot of Youtube searching, we were able to get the basics done both on our front-end and back-end framework. Finally, we are so proud of our team dynamic. Despite meeting for the first time this weekend, we were able to synergize and use one another’s strengths to create this project. We end our hackathon not only with an application built from our efforts but a friendship built from the amazing time we had together.

What we learned

We learned about version control, storing, sorting, and retrieving data utilizing Firebase, and how to stay resilient during major fallout.

What’s next

We hope to integrate a matching algorithm into our program to match our users to therapists specific to their needs. AssemblyAI API will also be implemented so that after each video call session, the content is automatically converted to text and sent directly to the user. We will launch the application globally with licensed therapists from all different time zones so that there is always someone who can help when the users are in need.

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