Challenges

  • Keeping people connected in lockdown (Anonymous chat functionality to support people facing mental health difficulties)
  • Hack for a good cause (Providing information on mental health, and giving a platform to allow people to go to in times of need)
  • Best Domain Registered with Domain.com (http://unisupport.online/)
  • Best use of Google Cloud (Using Compute Engine to host the server)
  • Best use of DataStax Astra (Using Cassandra to host the database)

Inspiration

We got inspired by the theme of hacking for a good cause and as we are currently in a pandemic it is essential to maintain good mental health especially those that are more vulnerable and in need.

What it does

It provides users with a platform for anonymous discussion about mental health providing features such as a live chat, discussion board and a bot that users can interact with.

How we built it

We built it using HTML, CSS, Bootstrap and a bit of JavaScript for the front end and we are running Django and Cassandra for the back end. The server is deployed on Google cloud and uses a domain registered with domain.com

Challenges we ran into

Managing a lot code written by a team is made a lot easier by the use of git. Also synchronisation of finishing work and manpower was a bit challenging, the goal being to distribute everybody such that everybody can contribute as much as they can. Our main issue was when a team member went for a 10 minute (3 hr) POWERNAP and left the rest of us clueless about how to continue without him.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are really proud of the live chat functionally being made possible by the database. Also another great feature is the bot that can interact with the user making it a great tool for diagnosing people with signs of mental health.

What we learned

We've learned a lot about working as a team, establishing clear goal and diving tasks equally between team members. This was the first time that our team have worked with non-relational databases and found this especially challenging as they had to unlearn the conventional method of using normalised forms.

What's next for Uni Support Online

We will try to bring the app to a wider audience by asking universities to promote and help sustain the platform.

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