Huddle: Our story of winning the #HackMentalHealth Hackathon
Team Huddle had an awesome time this past weekend working together to problem solve mental health management solutions through technology. HackMentalHealth provided an empowering space for us to iterate and work through our solution as a multidisciplinary team. Our team was comprised of designers (Sida and Lauren), engineers (Andee, Alice, and Aaron), and business strategists (Rose) — some of whom had never been to a hackathon before! We were surrounded and inspired by other hackers, mental health professionals and volunteers as well as the myriad of ideas generated by all teams in just 24 hours. We came into the hackathon with a common goal among us: provide a community of support for people suffering from mental health conditions. We were able to chat with psychologists, therapists, other technologists, and potential users to help us define our vision from a technical, user experience, and business point of view. Where did we end up after 24 hours? With a vision and prototype for a digital group therapy platform called Huddle.
We came into the hackathon with a common goal among us: provide a community of support for people suffering from mental health conditions.
What is Huddle?
Huddle is a digital group therapy platform facilitated by mental health professionals with real-time community interaction. Huddle puts you one word or emoji away from a therapist-led community that is invested in mental health wellbeing just like you. It’s an approachable, mobile accessible, round-the-clock and lower cost solution to therapy.
Why did we build it?
Huddle is created for those of us that face invisible problems alone. It’s rooted in the scientific fact that connecting with others is one of the most effective ways to treat mental health conditions. Huddle enables users to air their struggles in a safe environment and in the format that works best for them — by choosing to either type or speak. With instant feedback, it enables you to connect with others, learn from them, and receive encouragement to pave the way for self-motivation. More importantly it creates a sense of belonging which is crucial in avoiding the cycle of isolation. Reaching out can be exhausting during difficult times, but it is precisely what’s needed to start feeling your best again.
Who is it for?
Huddle is best suited for people with mental health conditions who would benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and other skill-based therapy types. People using Huddle can gain skills to cope with their condition through therapist suggestions and by sharing their experiences using these skills with one another. The user is matched with a group that is going through similar problems.
How does it work?
The core experience consists of live weekly huddles and daily check-ins.
Weekly huddles are live therapist-led videos with an embedded chat feed where users can type in comments and questions. Therapists can respond to user comments real time as well as create live interactive polls, questionnaires, and activities for users to respond to.
Daily check-ins are quick activities for users in a group chat interface to log emotions on a daily basis. The therapist can choose and customize what the daily activity is. Example activities include: logging how you are feeling with a single word or emoji, doing a mindfulness activity (like coloring or breathing exercises), or recording ways you have taken care of yourself or coped. These activities are group-based and allow users to learn from each other.
In addition to the core experience, users can also enter private conversations with their therapist, track their progress, and journal privately.
We are thrilled to have been chosen as the winner for the HMH Hackathon. It means that we will have the opportunity to meet experts in the mental health field to share our concept and further develop it. We hope that other people will find the concept of Huddle inspirational to their work in tackling mental health management as well!