How we built an effective Web Portal to help boost mental health & improve access to mental health information in Himachal Pradesh
Background of the Project:
- In 2017, the Mental Health Act (1987) was repealed and replaced with the more comprehensive Mental Health Care Act (MHCA).
- The main difference is that now, the focus is on enabling mentally ill patients to lead social lives, rather than committing them to asylums.
- We were approached by the HPSMHA, the mental health authority under the Government of Himachal Pradesh, to create a website that would act as the first step towards ensuring an effective rehabilitation plan, as well as setting comprehensive infrastructure standards.
- The website provides information on around fifty rehab centres and hospitals in Himachal Pradesh for drug addicts and the mentally ill.
- The website had to be interactive, user-friendly, and clean and simple to use, at the same time providing all the relevant information.
- This included where to find mental health establishments in the state, who people could reach out to, as well as what steps the Government was taking to set up a supportive mental health structure. At the same time, the content had to be easy to follow so that it was accessible to the public at large.
- While designing the website, we had to follow GIGW guidelines, which was a larger challenge that we were able to meet effectively.
Our Strategy – Phase-wise Rollout Backed by Research & Implementation:
To ensure we were tracking our progress efficiently, we created a project roadmap that was divided into multiple phases.
- The first was the research and discussion phase, in which we made sure that we had noted all the requirements of the client. Alongside this, we researched already-existing and proposed mental health avenues.
- The second phase entailed development, in which we collected information on health establishments and the state of health in HP.
- Under this roadmap, we set weekly aims and goals that ensured that we were meeting the client’s expectations and implementing their inputs without straying from the timeline.
Our Solution – Crafting the Right Positioning for HPSMHA without Compromising on Simplicity:
- One of the primary challenges the HPSMHA faced was answering the volume of queries they got from the general public regarding the state of mental health care in HP. Therefore, we focused on presenting information that would meet this challenge head-on.
- We offered an informative website through an easy-to-use CMS. Our main focus was on listing all the registered rehab centres in the state so that it would be easily accessible to the public.
Technologies & Capabilities Deployed:
- WordPress was used as a CMS due to its ease of use.
- The languages we used while developing the website were PHP, JSS, HTML, and jQuery.
- WordPress plugins and MySQL were equally useful in the development of this project.
What Set Us Apart:
- Despite the time crunch, our solution did not compromise on compatibility, security, and GUI – our motto is to provide the user with the best possible solution.
- We designed a modular back-end with provision for updating data on a timely basis, secure technology to maintain the portal, and strict adherence to HPSEDC guidelines.
- We also ensured we adhered to the GIGW compliance as regulated by the Indian Government, covering aspects like mandatory page modification, date stamp showing on the website, search option availability, responsive website, and visitor counter display on the website.
- For the end-user, HPSMHA, we focused on ease of use as well as site architecture, and visible display of information, since that was the primary focus.
- The website is also mobile responsive as well as desktop friendly.
Client Satisfaction, Every Time:
- We were able to complete the project before the stipulated deadline, and the website went live on November 15, 2019.
- The client was highly satisfied with our work – we were awarded a certificate of completion as well.
- The Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh inaugurated the website portal and it has been a great success since then, with remarkable implications for improving the mental health quotient of the state.
Government projects are always challenging because of the sheer volume of numbers that are involved. But we were able to turn these challenges into a great learning experience for the team.
- A key takeaway from this project was that it is better to spend more time in the beginning understanding the customer’s needs to avoid having to rework things in the future.
- As always, communication remains a top priority for us; without it, we would not be able to deliver the kind of solutions that we do.
- This project also enabled us to dabble in different and exciting coding modules, which we are now implementing in other web portal projects.