One of the biggest public health issues we face in the US is substance abuse. We drew inspiration from many sobriety tracking and mental health apps in order to learn what types of resources may be helpful throughout this journey. We specifically wanted to integrate a calendar, a center feature in many mental health apps, in order to implement a visual representation of one’s emotions that can be easily viewed by others. Another source of inspiration to the connectivity of this app was with traditional therapy, where a therapist reminds their patients with messages of positivity to facilitate their growth. We wanted to create a function that supports recovering addicts with messages of positivity instantaneously.
What it does
Many researchers indicate that a supportive social network encourages abstinence and reduces substance abuse. The main purpose of Presence is to enable immediate, non-invasive connection with the user's support group. If a user doesn’t have a support group already, Presence will match the user with an uplifting network. Presence not only allows instant and convenient connection with a support group, but it also promotes interconnectivity within the substance abuse community.
Our app is not a typical sobriety tracking app in that with a click of our “pick-me-up” button, users can instantly reach out to all members of their support group and let them know the user is having relapse urges. We have also incorporated a calendar which shows users their daily progress and shares it with their support group. This feature not only allows users to connect with the support group, but it can also leave an encouraging message to help with the user’s recovery journey.
How we built it
We built this app with a combination of Google Flutter SDK for the backend code and adobe xd for the user interface design. We stored user information on a SQL database and created push notifications using cloud functions to send to support groups. We also created dynamic links to share referrals from users to their support network, and this was all done with the integration of Firebase API.
Challenges we ran into
The main challenge we faced was time management because we had many great ideas for the features we wanted in the app. However, with the time restraint, we were unable to include everything.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We learned how to help people when verbalizing feelings are hard for them through fostering support and connectivity in real time within the substance abuse community. First Hackathon for two of our team members.
What we learned
Throughout the process of developing this application, we have learned about community and the importance of a support system throughout any personal journey. This integral aspect is reflected in the layout and all the features of Presence. All of the different functionalities of our application such as the pick me up button, connectivity with users of the app, and the tracking calendar are all designed to provide a sense of camaraderie and community when you may be feeling isolated and alone. Our team wanted to demonstrate to all users of Presence that no one is ever alone in the addiction recovery process. Any progress, whether small or large, is appreciated and celebrated.
What's next for
We are hoping to go back and add more features on the app, like chatting with a therapist and a chatbot which provides personalized resources for users to assist with their recovery. In addition, a GPS feature with the nearest therapist, rehab facility, and recovery programs are something we look forward to building.