Mental Illness is a serious issue, one that affects millions of Americans. Too often, we believe that our own community is immune to issues affecting our mental health. But we are not immune, and when mental illness does strike, those affected can be left without guidance or hope. NAMI St. Tammany connected with us to create an app that puts vital information about mental health into the hands of first responders.

NAMI St. Tammany is a grassroots organization based out of St. Tammany Parish (the fifth largest in Louisiana). The organization provides various resources to help their community understand mental illness and the effects it can have on an individual. By providing resources to those suffering from a mental illness, and those that interact with them, NAMI St. Tammany can combat the stigma that has become associated with such illness and provide a more positive approach to mental health.

The application designed by Apptitude for NAMI St. Tammany allows our first responders to access mental health resources from their smartphones. First responders will be able to quickly and easily view various guides and resources that will allow them to de-escalate situations and provide life-saving information to those suffering from mental illness.

NAMI St. Tammany has already pooled together numerous resources for understanding and handling mental illness. Our job with the app was to allow first responders to access a searchable index of mental health organizations and helplines, GPS-based searches for local facilities, and guides that can walk first responders through scenarios dealing with mental health issues.

Apptitude created an architecture that allows first responders to share important info without using their own personal phone numbers or emails. NAMI St. Tammany allows users to immediately and anonymous share guides, facility information, and local resources to individuals in need via text message or email.

One of the biggest issues we faced when designing the app was creating the interface. Any app interface should be easy to use, but for NAMI St. Tammany, the interface would decide the lives of individuals. An officer, EMT, or other first responder needed to be able to quickly access all available information in the middle of a call. A sluggish or confusing interface could cause a nightmarish scenario. When designing the app, we put the UI through every challenge we could. Everything, frontend to backend, was kept as clean and concise as possible. Now, first responders have access to an entire library of resources (from guides and links to GPS-based searches) that can be accessed in seconds.

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