Every year a million people commit suicide. That means in the past hour, more than 30 people have made the decision to end their own life. We have mental health systems in place to help people with severe depression, but very rarely do people wake up one morning with these symptoms. The path to many kinds of mental illnesses is a gradual one, and although we may say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, there are no current solutions to help prevent mental health issues before they occur.

Thant’s why we’re building Toolbox, an app-based platform to connect mental health professionals with patients in a smart convenient way. Psychiatrists and therapists can assign simple interventions like asking the patient to journal about their day, participate in mindfulness exercises, or to record how they’re feeling, without the need for more costly interventions like medication or hospitalization.

What it does

Toolbox allows mental health professionals to assign patients with mild anxiety or depression easy "tools" to maintain and improve mental health. They can assign tools like Guided Breathing, Open Journaling, Mood Check-In, as well as several others.

They can then look at all the data generated by their client's activity, and prevent mental health issues, instead of waiting for them to occur.

How I built it

I used Python with the Django framework to query a SQLite database and template web documents with the Jinja templating engine.

Challenges I ran into

Authentication is messy. Getting people into an app securely was a challenge.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Each of the tools I built has a real basis in cognitive psychology and psychiatry, and even for me right now they're useful.

What I learned

How you structure your data is important! Taking a step back and thinking through the relational modeling was probably a good thing (I'd still like to learn about non-relational databases tho).

What's next for Toolbox

Once we build out a more robust backend for mental health professionals to view and analyze patient activity, we can open a private free beta we'll use to collect data. We'll use that data to show that Toolbox can effectively lower rates of severe mental health problems, ultimately saving patients and insurance companies money. At that point, we'll have the ability to offer Toolbox on a per-patient subscription basis to mental health professionals.

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