In high school, pressures and expectations for achieving good grades and being successful --while also being happy--are extremely high. Sadly, these pressures manifest in many students as stress, anxiety, and even depression. In fact, one of our team members, Diana, ran into a different student having a breakdown in the bathroom every single of this past week, an experience that is not uncommon in high schools across the country. The lack of support at school, the competitive environments, and fear of failure all contribute to the fact that suicide, a result of the devastating mental health crisis, is the third leading cause of death among teenagers aged 12 through 19 (CDC). As high school students dealing with these problems, as well as seeing our friends and peers being affected, we wanted to create a solution that would alleviate this problem--Mind Up.
What it does
Mind Up is a website that helps reduce stress among high schoolers by enabling students to start their days off with a positive mindset. When students arrive on the website, they are able to see a history (formatted as a calendar) of their past moods. Each day, students can add a new entry, which has three simple tasks that they can complete (research has shown that to-do lists of three items are optimal for feeling productive):
- Breathing exercise coupled with meditation allows students to relax, unwind and focus on themselves.
- Mindfulness, a practice followed by many successful Silicon Valley CEOs, enables students to not only reflect on their feelings, but also better understand their motivation (and what motivates them), as well as understand and rationalize their feelings. One key feature we added after user testing, was the ability for students to rank how they felt, on a spectrum between happy to terrible. These feelings were associated with colors, and the home page shows how the student felt each day, depicting their feelings with the associated colors. We thought this would be effective in helping students not only visualize the journey of their emotions, but also realize that while some days are tough, there are also great days.
- Gratitude- journaling is meant to evoke a sense of positivity and optimism, as students are able to find reasons to love the world and be grateful for what they have. Students answer 3 prompts: "This made me smile...", "What keeps me going..." and "I'm looking forward too...". As Cicero remarked, "Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues, but the parent of all of the others."
How we built it
Challenges we ran into
As a team of three, we had less manpower, so while we may not have implemented as many features as a team of four, we were all motivated to work even harder!
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Excelling with both form and function, the modern and colorful website creates a professional aesthetic which we could not be more proud of.
What we learned
We learned a lot about working collaboratively, including how important clear communication is, how to delegate work, how to work under time pressure (constructing and setting achievable goals, and knowing when to move on from a feature) and also, how to Google for help effectively!
What's next for Mind Up
Our team is looking forward to continue adding features to our project (such as a more effective calendar view, links to mental health resources) as well as get more user feedback to improve on our existing features.