Students Design Innovative Solutions Addressing Childhood Mental Health

Stephanie Stephens, Executive Director of Learning Innovation and Technology
Last weekend, our students stood out among teams of technical and data professionals from a wide variety of industries at the exciting Hack4ChildMentalHealth Hackathon. This gruelling three-day challenge, hosted by Blockchain Learning Group, provoked participants to develop creative and impactful solutions to solve issues around childhood mental health.

Our first team, In Touch, imagined an app designed to support clinicians who need to glean much-needed information from young children who can’t yet express themselves fully through verbal communication or written work. Designed to gather data from icon choices and drawing analysis, the app collects data between therapy appointments so that treatments are better informed and more strategic. Congratulations to Tracy Z. in Grade 10 and Caitlin C. and Mehul P. in Grade 11, who worked together with a student from Havergal College to create this innovative app.

Our second team, Well Sent, designed and created a Google Chrome app that helps teens monitor their social media profiles for stigmatized language and phrases that might compromise acceptance and understanding of those who struggle with poor mental health. Congratulations to Demi P. in Grade 11, Ethan C. and Kyle A. in Grade 12, Ben MacDonald ’18 and Andrew Stephens ’18 who also worked with another student from Havergal College. This team won a special commendation with a cash prize from CIBC for their idea which garnered significant respect from Janet Menard, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services. Janet praised the group for their effort to acknowledge and address the stigma around mental health.

Both teams worked tirelessly and were commended by all of the judges for their contributions to the event with lots of encouragement and hope that they would continue their efforts in the future. Even though the event was very challenging and took the students away from a very heavy work schedule, they were glad they took the time to participate and recognized how valuable this learning experience was.