Mental Health is a rising problem across the globe, especially recently, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are several barriers preventing the general public from getting the help they need. Mentis is an interactive mental health chatbot with the ability to understand and properly address a variety of situations regarding psychological distress.
What it does
Mentis acts as a one-stop shop for everything related to mental health. This includes, but certainly is not limited to dynamic conversations with users, a variety of calming exercises (breathing, yoga, meditation), and appointment booking with local clinics and professions. Most importantly, Mentis allows the user to freely express themselves without judgement in order to relieve stress.
How we built it
The Chatbot was created using Voiceflow software through a combination of intents, utterances, and flow blocks for complex conversation, and the project was integrated into our website using HTML/CSS/JS and hosted using Firebase Hosting.
Challenges we ran into
Learning Voiceflow and all the functions the software had to offer was challenging at first, however, efficient and effective use of online documentation, as well as youtube tutorials made implementing the response steps and user inputs much easier.
When we first attempted to integrate Mentis into the website, we had no idea what tools to use - we only had a faint idea that API calls would be involved, and magically tied into the frontend. We first attempted a combination of Firebase Hosting/Cloud Functions and React.js, but soon realized that it would be messy having the Frontend and Backend in one project. We tried again with Node Express on a local development server, but once again failed to manipulate API calls and interacting with Voiceflow's endpoints. In the end, we used basic HTML/CSS/JS and Firebase Hosting to integrate an instance of Mentis' prototype into the website.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Getting the chatbot to function and conduct in-depth conversations with users without a problem, as well as creating a professional desktop-first website that offers an additional instance of Mentis for accessibility.
What we learned
- Using Figma to collaborate on a cohesive theme for Mentis
- How to use Node Express and interact with APIs on local development servers
- Integrating Voiceflow software with HTML/CSS/JS
- To work collaboratively, motivate generously, and network maturely
- Integrating multiple graphic design platforms to form a cohesive logo
- Using Google Sheets as a database for user appointments, and tying it to Mentis using the Google Sheets API
What's next for Mentis
Our next goal for Mentis is to integrate an even larger dataset of resources to offer a bigger and better service for our users. As more time is given to further the project, we hope to utilize Machine Learning to create more organic and unique conversations, as well as provide a plethora of intuitive exercises to aid users.