We are proud to announce that one of our SEO team members, Kara Thurkettle, alongside her partner Shaun Plumber, a developer from Coderus, won a 48 Hour Hackathon held by Innovate Suffolk this past weekend.
What is Innovate Suffolk?
Through events and networking, the goal of Innovate Suffolk is to bring together startup talent and technology across the region in an open and inclusive way. In this way, they hope to connect people, communities and resources in a way that helps solve real-world problems like mental health. Long term, the leaders at Innovate Suffolk hope to help local talent build viable collaborations and businesses.
How did the “Hackathon” work?
Over the course of 48 hours, minds from all across Suffolk came together, with the help and guidance of volunteer mentors, to pitch ideas, form teams and create, test and refine viable real-world projects and solutions related to the topic of mental health.
Some of the projects that came out of this included goal setting apps, apps for children and technology using artificial intelligence – but the winning pitch was Kara and Shaun’s app “Stress Buddy”.
What is Stress Buddy?
Stress Buddy is an app that helps people immediately manage and assess negative emotions [negative stimuli] such as anxiety using a series of coping prompts based on a combination of CBT Therapy and Behavioural Conditioning principles.
Essentially, Stress Buddy sends users through a coping strategy journey that over time helps reinforce positive coping behaviour/response when faced with stressful situations. As the app provides multiple coping mechanisms it could be really beneficial to people with complex mental health conditions who could feel anxiety, anger and depression all in one day. Among its other many features, the app also has a wearable technology integration as well as data tracking to help users track emotions, triggers and responses in order to better manage their overall mental health.
“Ideally, Stress Buddy would be prescribed to people on waiting lists for CBT treatments to help inform health professionals of the patient’s condition over time. On the other hand, it could also be used by HR departments in companies to either monitor the mental health of employees to be able to intervene prior to a crisis – or if privacy is a concern – it could be an added health benefit to employees so they can understand why they feel and act the way they do.” – Kara Thurkettle, StrategiQ SEO Executive
The Culture of Stress Buddy
However, Stress Buddy is more than just an app. It’s also a culture that companies can implement across their organisations in order to help employees feel more motivated and not alone. In this culture, following a series of trust and communication exercises led by psychologists and team leaders, employees are paired into a mutually beneficial “buddyship” of two people. In this relationship, the jobs of both buddies are to help encourage each other to achieve personal and professional goals in addition to helping them through stress.
StrategiQ implemented this culture following the hiring of Sue Firth, one of the UK’s leading business psychologists – who helped introduce the concept of the “Stress Buddy” system in the workplace.
What happens next?
The Stress Buddy team have decided to pursue the full development of the app and are currently looking for mental health professionals, academics, business leaders from local SMEs and HR professionals who would be interested in helping them in their research for the development of the app as well as beta testers afterwards.