The inspiration for Reach Out is to find an immediate and effective way to ease the stress caused by the current social distancing measures.  Working parents are struggling to fulfil their multiple roles. Those living alone are feeling lonely and isolated. There is a risk of an increase in domestic violence and mental health issues. We all need emotional and personal connection and support more than ever. Research has shown that giving people the possibility to talk about their problems and concerns helps reduce stress. We all have the potential to support each other by reaching out.

What it does

Our objective is to help reduce stress and increase resilience in a way that is effective, quick to put into place and that scales easily.  Our web app is targeted both towards those needing support and those wishing to offer support. The gamification will help motivate them to connect and make it simple for them to maintain regular contact.  As our tool will show those registered how our network is growing and make it easy for others to get involved, it has the potential to spread faster than the corona virus in bringing people together for mutual support and demonstrating that we are still connected in spite of social distancing and quarantine.

How WE built it

We came together as a team two days before the hackathon began, not ever having worked together and not knowing each other well. We have a diverse professional backgrounds--technology, education, psychiatry, business, resilience training and digital learning. United by a passion for education and supporting others, especially families, we could use our complementary skills to put together an effective and simple tool that will enable anyone to reach out and support other people through this crisis. We started on Friday with a design thinking process, focussing first on the situation and needs of our potential users, then on the functionality and how it could be scaled. By Saturday evening we had agreed on the concept for our Reach Out tool and our technical expert Daniel could begin building it.

Challenges we ran into

None of us were familiar with miro and many of us had never used Slack. We had a learning curve (steeper for some than others) on using all of the tools. So some of us were technically challenged at times during the process. We had a bit of a crisis Saturday evening when we realized that there were some divergent views about the objectives of the tool, but we were able to find the “both/and” of the discussion and strengthen the concept.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

We are extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish in such a short time and with such a potentially huge impact. We applied the principle of reaching out to each other and supporting each other during our collaboration, living the spirit of our solution. Our tool can enable a grassroots movement to support each other, reducing stress and contributing to  everyone’s mental health.

What We learned

We had a hands-on experience of the power of diversity and collaboration and how much can be accomplished in 48 hours.

What's next for Reach Out

We hope that we can spark enthusiasm for Reach Out so that as many people as possible join us in reaching out while staying home to feel better together.

Try It out



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