We are inspired by the prompt proposed by the Canadian Mental Health Association: "How can we eliminate long wait times for suicide hotlines?" After extensive research about the issue, we found out that wait lines for hotlines can have over 50 people, and it can sometimes take hours for supporters to get in contact. Reducing the wait times for suicide hotlines is a matter of life and death. Since our team is passionate about engineering for the social good, we decided to tackle this problem.

What it does

Mental Health Connect is a platform where individuals can anonymously seek help from a certified counselling professional, whenever, wherever. The limited number of staffs at suicide call centers and the overwhelming call demands result in long wait times. Mental Health Connect resolves this issue by presenting an online platform that diverts the calls to counselors all over Canada. As a result, the number of available counselors increases, staffs do not have to be physically present at call centers, and users can receive help outside of office hours by chatting with a professional in another time zone.

How we built it

We built the website using HTML and CSS. The platform, based off a modified bootstrap template, features an online real-time chat box for the user to interact with a counselors, a sign-up page for certified professionals to register, and a log-in page for previously-registered counselors to log into their account. We implemented

Challenges we ran into

At the beginning of this project, our team was not very skilled in web development, with most of us having only a very basic understanding of the different elements of a website. The biggest challenge we ran into was developing our idea while simultaneously teaching ourselves the required skills to properly implement mental health connect.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

During the 24 hour hacking period, we were able to design and develop an aesthetic homepage, a detailed sign up page that takes detailed information for the mental health professional, a sign in page for returning care givers and a live chat that matches people seeking support with online professionals.

What we learned

We learned web development from the ground up. We taught ourselves front end development using HTML and CSS and back end development using Javascript and Firebase. Through researching this idea, we learned the importance of always seeking support for mental health issues whenever they come up, regardless how small they are.

What's next for Mental Health Connect

The next steps for mental health connect are ensuring the care we offer is of the highest possible quality and improving the features offered on our site. This includes verifying registering healthcare professionals license numbers using the registered professional website. In order to tailor the kind of care we offer case-by-case, we will implement categories that makes sure the user gets exactly the kind of support they require.

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