This is a guest post from Ethan D., who recently participated in the Hack Mental Health Reverse Hackathon. Ethan is involved in the Children’s Health Council Teen Wellness Committee. In this post, Ethan talks about his expectations going into the day, his experience, and if he would participate in future Hack Mental Health events.
I first heard of the Reverse Hackathon through one of the Teen Wellness Committee’s adult moderators. I decided to participate because I thought that it would be a nice experience where I could learn a bit more about mental health and try to contribute my own ideas.
I was unsure about the hackathon early on, as I quickly realized that the majority of participants would be adults, not high schoolers like me. After all, the pre-hackathon gettogether was at a bar, and I have a few more years before I can set foot in such establishments.
Despite uneasy first impressions, I was surprised by the number of people who showed up to the event. There were people from different fields and backgrounds who wanted to come together and make solutions to mental health issues. I enjoyed the competitive but friendly high-cooperation environment, which allowed many great ideas to form and develop. Additionally, I found many of the adults approachable instead of avoidant of high schoolers, since most adults characterize us as immature and still children.
Although my team did not win, I found the experience helpful in learning better brainstorming techniques and finding new ways to address mental health in my own life. The one thing I will remember is that mental health can come from many different areas of life, not from just technology use. These other areas are also just as important despite the concern of technological mental health overshadowing other situations.
I would definitely participate in the Reverse Hackathon again because it was a valuable learning experience and a great place to meet new people of different backgrounds. The Reverse Hackathon was a small gathering of people highly devoted to mental health, but more people need to get involved in events like these. Mental health is beginning to show that it is just as important as physical health, so greater attention must be given to it.
We’d like to thank Ethan for participating in the event and for writing about his experience. After School is a proud partner of Hack Mental Health, and our team looks forward to being involved in future events.