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Minister says we need to work together online

Find out how Saturday's #hack4help went!


Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in news


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Saturday saw hackers from all over Ireland get together at Facebook offices in Dublin, along with SpunOut.ie and Coderdojo to #hack4help.

Using SpunOut.ie’s help services database, over 40 hackers worked on developing applications so young people can be better matched with health services in their local area and respond to their needs.

The need for something like this was identified by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald TD, who was there on the day and said: “I see this great interagency work being done and it reminds me of the reports that go across my desk about child deaths and child protection in Ireland.”

“In the new technology area - I don’t want to see people making the same mistakes that perhaps the more traditional methods have made in not working together.”

“This is a great example of inter-agency work. One of the key points that comes up again and again is the need for inter-agency work when dealing with young people's safety and that's exactly what you're doing here this morning.” she added.

“Peer education and peer support and you are the best people to find new technologies that get the right piece of help to young people when they need it.”

The award for best idea went to a team who developed a multi platform app called ‘Mojo - My Own Journal’ which used CBT principles and non-clinical language to get young people to self-direct their own positive mental health and direct them to services when they need them. The team won €1,000 in Facebook advertising credits for their efforts.

Second prize went to another multi-platform app called “Life Hack” which used gamification to encourage users to actively prevent their mental health from deteriorating by rewarding users with points for a healthy balance of sleep, exercise, talking and eating well. The app centres around an anonymous character designed by the user and in order to keep your character alive you are encouraged to sleep well, be reasonably active, talk to friends more and eat a good diet. The app tracks users’ sleep, activity and how much they talk to friends to calculate the points to keep their character alive.

Facebook’s Policy Director, for the UK & Ireland Simon Milner said: "It is fantastic to see so many talented developers giving up their time on a Saturday to join Facebook, SpunOut.ie and CoderDojo to build creative ways to help people find and access support services online. Safety of the people who use Facebook, particularly young people, is central to everything we do and we're excited to see the technical solutions people build today."

SpunOut.ie’s own John Buckley said: “Young people can sometimes find it very difficult to get access to relevant health and help services online, we hope this event produced something which will break down that barrier for young people and provide tech solutions to a generation of digital natives.”

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Published October 7th, 2013
Last updated October 23rd, 2015
Tags hackathon hack4help bytes
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