HackMentalHealth 2019 Recap: 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.

Last weekend, HackMentalHealth hosted its second annual 24-hour Bay Area mental health hackathon, welcoming over 500 attendees! 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.


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

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 to managing 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.
Left photo: (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. Right photo: One of our finalists, Team Trove, pitching their idea on stage on Day 2

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.

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

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.

Huge thank you to all of our generous sponsors for their support: Google, Joyable, Mindstrong Health, HopeLab, SquareTrade, Collective Health, Two Chairs, Big Health, Kip, LinkedIn Wellness, After School, reflect, Basis, SilverCloud, nOCD, Health Venture, Woebot, CIIS, Twilio, Blue Sky, HintKasa)

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:

Pre-hackathon mixer on Friday night.

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.

P.S. Are you a developer looking for a mental health + tech job? Our partner, Marigold Health, is searching for a developer to join their team in Boston, MA. Submit your resume!


Originally published at www.hackmentalhealth.care.