Mental health is one of the most stigmatized concepts around the world today, and the process of accessing mental health services is often quite daunting. People need a tool that is anonymous, quick, and accessible, to express their emotions and receive immediate guidance. This does not just simply apply to students facing mental health issues over school, but can also apply to a vast range of audiences such as Canadian Special Forces deployed all across the world or even anybody in the workforce.
What it does
Sentimint allows one to write several private journal entries and have them processed by our platform's *something to identify their underlying emotions and tone. The platform outputs a phrase that captures this emotion and makes a suggestion if the emotion is negative. The platform also suggests several local events and meetups that the user can explore to feel better.
How we built it
We built Sentimint using the React.js platform, which allows for efficient front-end development. We integrated a voice recognition API designed for React.js applications.The app's back end takes advantage of Firebase. Journals are stored on Firestore, and REST requests are handle through cloud functions. The single-page web app is also served from Firebase. We took advantage of Google's cloud Natural Language Processing API to perform Sentiment analysis.
Challenges we ran into
Over the course of the 36 hours, we encountered a variety of challenges. With little experience of React.js and its libraries, creating the fundamental back-end for even simple tasks were difficult. Additionally, the unfamiliarity with firebase / other technologies was challenging. However, with the help of mentors and sponsors, we were able to gain a clear understanding of all the used concepts.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of several key milestones that we reached during the process of developing our webapp, such as implementing speech recognition, developing the React.js app itself (we had little prior experience), and integrating cloud services into our app.Overall, when the project functioned, it was beautiful.
What we learned
We learned that simplicity is a key component to any good project. When we first started developing our webapp concept, we decided to pursue simplicity in lieu of adding as many features as possible, which, while may provide more functionality, takes away from the overall user experience, which is essential when it comes to working in the field of mental health. Overall, user experience and the interface was extremely important to us, as we spent countless hours brainstorming and designing the most optimal experience for any user of Sentimint.
What's next for Sentimint
As a personal counselor and advisor, Sentimint aims to provide it's users with more refined data, visualizations, and perhaps other metrics in the future. Graphs, tables, etc will be implemented to help view progress and mood trends, as well as more events and opportunities. Overall, Sentimint aims to improve it's data analytics with a dashboard to curate the ultimate digital counselling experience.
Applies to CANSOFCOM sponsor prize.