School of Built Environment, Engineering and Computing

Students Collaborate to Combat Mental Health Challenges at Healthcare Hackathon

On the weekend of 11th – 13th October Leeds Beckett hosted an exciting partnership Hackathon event in which students from universities in the Leeds City Region studying were tasked to come up with innovative solutions to real challenges relating to mental health.

Funded by MedTech Skills academy and in partnership with the University of Leeds and both the Translate and Grow Med Tech programmes, over 46 students specialising in subjects from medicine to engineering and computer science took up the challenge.

The teams addressed challenges both for people experiencing mental health problems and challenges for the health and social care system in how it responds, and it was inspiring to see how the teams worked together. Some students didn’t know each other previously but met for the first time and worked hard all weekend, bringing their varied skills and expertise together to come up with creative solutions.

The teams presented their concepts to a panel of judges Sunday morning, with impressive representation from across the sector:

  • Cat Colquhoun, Technology Innovation Officer for Grow MedTech at Leeds Beckett University.
  • Ian Robertson, Professor of Microwave and Millimetre-Wave Engineering at the University of Leeds
  • Dr Mike Raxworthy, School of mechanical engineering at University of Leeds
  • Kush Kumar, CEO and founder Think Tree Hub
  • Alistair Walling, GP and CCIO for Leeds CCG and WYPFT
  • David Kemball, medical student in his 5th year at the University of Leeds

All the teams had excellent innovative entries, making the judges’ job difficult, but in the end the winning team was Open Mind with their idea for an app that would pull together mental health services for students and offer bookable virtual reality sessions to deal with stresses.

Open Mind won £1000 as a team, and all teams had chance to discuss opportunities to progress their ideas through the GrowMedTech programme, and receive expert advice from the judges.

The Hackathon was a great success for everyone involved and shows what can be achieved when different skills and experience come together. We would like to say a huge thank you to the judges and the teams that took part and look forward to hosting the second edition at the same time next year!

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