Hackathought: Building mHealth solutions to address the mental health and wellness needs of post-secondary students in the Greater Toronto Area.

The GTA is home to over 300,000 post-secondary students, all of whom face varying degrees of stress and strain as they pursue career and learning objectives. Attending school in Canada’s largest city can be challenging because Toronto can be an expensive, lonely place, especially for students who arrive here from the rest of Canada and around the world.   

On November 7-9, we want to challenge students and hackers from across Ontario to build mHealth solutions that address the mental health and well-being needs of the post-secondary student population. We invite hackers from across Ontario, including students, to participate for a chance to win cash prizes.

Thought Spot engages students to identify healthy places they know about and helps them discover the wide variety of wellness options available both on and off campus. Some spots, such as Health Services at the University of Toronto, are already well-known — however the map uses a holistic definition of wellness, which includes a diverse set of resources including public parks, libraries and even yoga studios. The map already offers over 900 health and wellness spots across the GTA, from Ajax to Erin Mills.

Hackathought will challenge hackers to build mobile-centric technologies that consider the student experience with mental health and provides better access to Thought Spot resources while they are on the go.

We also want to encourage any hacker with an idea for a mental health innovation to participate. The Best Mental Health Innovation prize will be awarded to the hackers with the most creative and free-form solution.

The Thought Spot Project, initiated by the Centre of Addiction and Mental Health and lead by the University of Toronto through the Ministry of Training and Colleges and University’s Mental Health Innovation Fund, is supported by our partners Ryerson University, OCAD University and ConnexOntario.

View full rules


This event is open to any hackers interested in participating. Admission is free of charge, so to secure your spot, please ensure you add a profile on Challenge post, with information on skills you can bring to the team and why you are interested in this event. Remember, your team has to choose you, so show them the best you have to offer!

Teams must register in-person with all participants by the time hacking begins on Saturday morning.

To be eligible for the Grand Prize:
  • You must use resources and content found on the live Thought Spot map. A data file will be made available to those working on native app solutions and a sandbox version of the site will be made available to those working with the mobile web.
  • Must present a working prototype. No screenshots or mockups allowed!
To be eligible for the Best Mental Health Innovation:
  • Any solution can be considered: mobile, desktop, wearable, hardware, etc.
  • Cannot promote a direct competitor to the Thought Spot map

The Best in Mental Health Innovation prize will be awarded to the best free-form solution submitted by a team. It will be judged based on creativity, feasibility, and consciousness of the youth mental health experience.


All teams must be properly registered through ChallengePost by the submission deadline on Sunday November 9th to be considered for judging.

Grand Prize Entries:
  • Must be mobile-centric.
  • Must use Thought Spot content (data file will be provided).
  • No other crowdmapping platforms other than Ushahidi are allowed.
  • Some additional APIs are allowed. i.e. Twitter, Facebook, etc. If you're not sure, just ask us!
Technical Specifications of the Thought Spot Map
  • Relevant Ushahidi SDKs and tech resources are available below. You are allowed to use them if you wish, though this is not a requirement
  • Ushahidi is an Open Source Crowd-mapping software that is built using PHPMysql

Relevant API documentation and SDKS that are permitted:

How to enter

Please register for the event on the Eventbrite page. Please also remember to create a Challenge Post profile, so potential teammates can find and connect with you!

Register on Eventbrite



17:30: Arrivals

17:45: Mental Health Panel + Content workshop

19:15: Tapas and networking

19:30: Team pitches and team formation

21:00: Team registration, sign waiver

22:00: Venue closed


8:30: Breakfast served + Ushahidi API workshop + Last call for team registration

9:30: HACK!

11:00: Mentor sessions

13:00: Lunch and announcements

14:00 Ushahidi Mentor Sessions (optional)

16:00 “Get the creative juices flowing” activity (optional)

18:00 Dinner

21:30 Venue closed


8:30 Breakfast served

9:00 HACK!

11:00 Mentor sessions: Pre-demos

12:00 Lunch, announcements/Thank Yous

13:00 Demo submission deadline

13:30 Demos start

16:00 Awards presentation


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Raju Bains
Youth Addiction and Concurrent Disorders Service at CAMH

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Valerie Fox
Executive Director, Ryerson Digital Media Zone

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Christopher Charlesworth
Co-Founder, HiveWire

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Joshua Liu

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Mustefa Jo'shen
Founder and Creative Director/ tUX: Design Cofounders

Judging Criteria

  • Youth Mental Health
    It considers the student experience with mental health and well-being in the City of Toronto, and incorporates design and features that seek to improve that experience.
  • Youth Engagement
    It encourages crowdsourced content submissions and engagement with the map, while protecting student identity and information.
  • Youth Advocacy
    It helps foster self-empowerment and self-awareness among the post-secondary student population.
  • User Experience
    The user experience design is engaging and intuitive.