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HackMentalHealth 2019 — The World’s Largest Mental Health Hackathon

500+ people innovated in mental health + tech at a 24-hour hackathon in San Francisco. Here’s what happened.

BEST-BACKGROUNDS/Shutterstock
BEST-BACKGROUNDS/Shutterstock

Welcome to our new section, Thrive on Campus, devoted to covering the urgent issue of mental health among college and university students from all angles. If you are a college student, we invite you to apply to be an Editor-at-Large, or to simply contribute (please tag your pieces ThriveOnCampus). We welcome faculty, clinicians and graduates to contribute as well. Read more here.

Last weekend, HackMentalHealth hosted its second annual 24-hour Bay Area mental health hackathon, welcoming 500+ registered participants! Our hackathon sold out and we were blown away by the overwhelming interest and enthusiasm as we worked hard to help get folks off our 300+ wait list. 

Fostering a Community

HackMentalHealth believes in a world where mental health care is positively revolutionized alongside technology. We also believe that this problem isn’t solved in isolation. Only by working together, with technologists, psychologists, entrepreneurs, and passionate individuals, can we truly make an impact — which is why our hackathons are open to everyone.

The incredible turnout this year demonstrates the growing need for an inclusive community where individuals that care about mental health, regardless of skill set, can collaborate together to innovate. 

Full house for Dr. Vaneeta Sandhu’s Lightning Talk on Managing Mental Health as a Millennial. Credit to Author.
One of our mind+body focused activities offered during the hackathon: 30 min yoga workshops. Credit to Author.

Redefining the Hackathon Experience

Our hackathons are unconventional. At HackMentalHealth, we value inclusivity, community engagement, mindfulness, collaboration, hands-on learning, and taking care of our minds and bodies.

With these principles in mind, we designed the weekend with care. Our mental health hackathon:

  • Offered several health-oriented activities, such as yoga classes, guided meditation workshops, and an expressive arts therapy session. An enthusiastic participant, Frazer, even held an impromptu laughing meditation workshop!
  • Provided hands-on workshops in Design Thinking and Introductory Coding to help demystify the hackathon experience for first-timers.
  • Invited leading mental health experts to present Lightning Talks on diverse topics ranging from the ethics of digital social prescribing and how to manage mental health as a millennial.
  • Bridged the gap between mental health professionals and technologists by having mentors from both domains readily available for participants to interact with throughout the weekend — this helped ensure that the participants’ energy was spent developing a useful and practical idea in a professional mental health setting.
  • Engaged our community by live-streaming our opening keynote with Dr. Adam Gazzaley, our finalist pitches, and closing ceremony on our Facebook page.
From left to right: Alice Kuo, Riley Predum, Aneesh Sampath, and Nina Sardesh from Team Healthfully presenting to judges Hoang Tran and Dr. Nina Vasan during the science fair. Credit to Author.
One of our finalists, Team Trove, pitching their idea on stage on Day 2. Credit to Author.

The Winning Teams

Nine finalists were selected out of a grand total of 61 teams. Our hackathon winners shared their experiences and hack idea by writing their own blog posts. Links below.

  • First Place: Amazoff
  • Second Place: Trichy the Pullbot
  • Third Place: Trove
  • Finalists: GroupSesh, Hint of Fun(g), Sightcast
  • Judges’ Recognition Award: Friendchips, Branches, Mindly
  • Collective Health Challenge winner for hacking access to behavioral health care: navigating and paying for care: Trichy the Pullbot
  • Joyable Challenge winner for hacking a solution to provide more integrated options for those in need of crisis support: Piñata
  • Hopelab Challenge winners for hacking a solution to address social isolation in young people: Relatable and Golden Pillar
  • Other teams: Follow our Medium publication to read about other teams and get notified when new articles are published.
Participants during the science fair at UCSF. As judges walked around to each table, each team had 2 minutes to pitch their ideas + 1 min for Q&A. Credit to Author.

Shout Out to Our Phenomenal Judges

Hackathon Panel

Sponsor Challenges

Huge Thank You to Our Special Guests

And Our Incredible Partners

This event would not have been possible without our incredible partners and sponsors from a variety of backgrounds.

Credit to Author.

Huge thank you to all of our generous sponsors for their support!

How Do I Join?

It doesn’t end here. We send monthly newsletters, offer job opportunities, and host community events throughout the year, but we need your help. Please join us in this movement.

Here’s how you can get involved:

Join our newsletter and drop us a note.

Like our Facebook Page and join our group.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram.

Our pre-hackathon mixer on Friday night. Credit to Author.

HackMentalHealth is a non-profit that fosters the leading community of mental health advocates and technologists, enabling them to innovate and advance mental health care through technology.

The 2019 Bay Area HackMentalHealth hackathon was hosted at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center in San Francisco on March 23–24, 2019 and was organized by an incredible group of volunteers, led by Anne Wu and Zhifan Li.

Subscribe here for all the latest news on how you can keep Thriving.

More on Mental Health on Campus:

What Campus Mental Health Centers Are Doing to Keep Up With Student Need

If You’re a Student Who’s Struggling With Mental Health, These 7 Tips Will Help

The Hidden Stress of RAs in the Student Mental Health Crisis

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