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Current Year Centre for Addiction
and Mental Health

Weekend hackathon produces original mobile apps to improve student mental health

TORONTO, Nov. 12, 2014 – On Sunday November 9, hackers from across Ontario demonstrated 14 original mobile app concepts to support the mental health and wellbeing of post-secondary students. These new designs were the product of a weekend-long ‘hackathon’, where programmers, engineers, designers, mental health practitioners and advocates came together to build mobile solutions that improve access to mental health resources.

Hackathought participants

“There was a real, vibrating energy in the room this weekend” said David Wiljer, CAMH’s Senior Director of Transformative Education and Academic Advancement. “Every person in the room came with their own experience of trying to navigate the mental health system and everyone was committed to working together to improve and transform these experiences. The creativity of the teams and what they were able to accomplish in such a short window of time was impressive. ”

The hackathon took place at Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone and is the second phase of Thought Spot, an online map -- created for students, by students -- of crowdsourced mental health resources in the GTA. Teams were challenged to create mobile apps for Thought Spot, and discover new ways for students and other users to contribute to the map using social media and other mobile-friendly technologies.  

Thought SpotThought Spot map
Team Check It! was awarded the Grand Prize of $2,500 cash and a $1,900 credit to the tailoredUX Design Co-Founders program. The Check It! app design targets the busy post-secondary student by allowing them to access Thought Spot content through an iOS/Android app or mobile site that recommends brief activities that promote a healthy lifestyle.

"My favourite part of the hackathon experience was working with a wonderful and diverse team,” said Katie Zhu, member of team Check it! “We were all able to work together using our individual expertise toward a common goal. I think we were successful because we really used our creativity and we kept the students we were targeting in mind."

Runners-up included Team Praemonstro and Team #NeverAlone who were awarded $500 gift cards from Ryerson University and the University of Toronto, in addition to credits to the tailoredUX Design Cofounders program.

The Best Mental Health Innovation Prize went to Team Hey Howdy, which allows users to create friend circles of those closest to them and sends alerts to the group when a user may be exhibiting out-of-character behaviours.

To learn more about all projects built during the weekend, please visit

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Media contact: 
Kate Richards, 
Media Relations 
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)
416 535-8501 ext. 36015

About Thought Spot:

Thought Spot is a live map designed by students, for students, in the Greater Toronto Area. The map allows students to easily identify and access health and wellness services, and discover resources that are relevant to their experiences, situation, and location. Thought Spot is a collaborative project between the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), University of Toronto Department of Medicine, Ryerson University, OCAD University, and ConnexOntario. This initiative is funded through a 2013 Mental Health Innovation Fund grant administered by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities.

About The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH):

CAMH is Canada's largest mental health and addiction teaching hospital and a world leading research centre in this field. CAMH combines clinical care, research, education, policy development and health promotion to help transform the lives of people affected by mental illness and addiction. CAMH is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto, and is a Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization Collaborating Centre. For more information, please visit

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