-Through our individual experiences, all three of us have struggled in the past with balancing our hectic college lives and trying to find adequate mental health care. It is time-consuming and draining to juggle school and extracurriculars, and then on top of that, do research and make phone calls to try to find counselors in the area who are affordable, take your insurance, align with your schedule, etc.
What it does
-We created an app to simplify the process of finding a counselor. The app has a tinder-like user interface that allows users to enter their preferences (e.g. health insurance, zip code, preferred gender, specialties), and then see counselors near them who fit their needed criteria. The user can then read a quick bio and decide whether to move on to the next counselor, call the counselor's office, or go to their page on PsychologyToday.com.
How we built it
-We used Android Studio to develop tinDR. The counselor profiles from PsychologyToday were scrubbed using jsoup, a java library for html parsing, the mechanics of the app were coded in java, and the front-end layout was coded in XML.
Challenges we ran into
-We initially planned to use an API containing a list of counselors and their data (e.g. specialties, phone numbers, addresses, etc.). We originally thought it also contained images of the counselors in the database, which we would need to create a Tinder-like app. However, upon writing a framework to parse data from the API, we discovered that the html links to the pictures were broken and couldn't be used.
-We also spent a significant amount of time working on implementing swiping, so that the user could swipe away counselors who wouldn't be a good fit, or swipe right on those they wanted to contact. We used a library to implement swipeable cards with the names and bios of counselors but discovered that the library was not compatible with online photos since it required pictures to be pre-downloaded.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
-Two of our members had never used Android Studio before, and by the end of the hackathon felt very comfortable with the software -We also ended up creating a working product based on our collective passion for breaking down the barriers to accessing mental health services, a commendable feat of its own.
What we learned
-It is always ok to take a step back and rework your project when needed. This was our third restart for the project and we didn't begin on this final iteration until 12 hours before submission but had we not restarted, we may not have ended up with a working product at all
What's next for tinDR
We would love to develop this app further into an actual service. Mental health is so important and too often heavily stigmatized. This app could provide a great pathway to allow young people to find adequate mental health services