March 6th, 2015

Co-designing Mental Health Services with Young People

During 2013, We Got 99 worked with local youth group to explore internet-based approaches to support young people’s mental health. The outputs are presented in the Young People’s Insights.

These are some the tools and activities used to gather these insights. They will be expanded upon during a new phase in 2015.

6 one-to-one interviews and 5 group sessions

The sessions were part of each group’s programme of events, taking place at their facilities and supported by their group leaders. Due to the sensitive subject, the project approached only young people in a well- supported environment and with appropriate aftercare.

We designed a bespoke set of tools to facilitate the young people’s involvement.

We framed the sessions as mini-design research workshops, splitting the larger groups into two teams and assigning the young people roles (eg. ‘Visualiser’ and ‘Summariser’). Each young person was given a sketchbook, to jot down ideas and thoughts that they didn’t want to make public
We then led them in a series of activities, which are listed overleaf. These were adapted slightly from group to group, and not every session included every activity.

The activities focused first on digital media use, then issues of mental wellbeing and finally how the two areas might combine.

Activity 1: Which digital and social media?

A simple warm-up activity in which we asked young people to pick and match up icons in order to demonstrate which social media sites they used most, and which digital devices they used in order to access them.

Activity 2: How do we interact on social media?

Young people analysed how they use popular social media sites such as Facebook. A series of questions invited them to break down their most recent interactions, helping them articulate what exactly they were using the sites for, who they were talking to, and the positives and negatives of social media experiences.

Activity 3: Brainstorm on mental health

A word association game encouraged young people to write down anything that came to mind in relation to the words ‘Mental Health’. The results were clustered into themes and discussed: how young people could look after their mental health, who they went to for support and advice, what they felt about the stigma that surrounds mental health, etc.

Activity 4: Building persona

Young people were asked to create a character that may need mental health support services. A prompt card provided a clue as to the character’s experience of mental health issues. They were asked to consider the character’s interests and social media use, but also their relationships with friends and family, and who they trusted for advice.

Activity 5: Storyboarding

Building on the persona, the young people were asked to draw or write a story about their character.

Activity 6: Identify Problems and Opportunities

This activity used a stickering method to help young people identify the problems surrounding mental health issues and social media use that had arisen during the previous exercises. We then help them identify opportunities and ideas for services.

Activity 7: Create Opportunities & Ideas

An opportunity card was designed to help young people create quick ideas for digital (and otherwise!) support services that could support the character created in the persona building exercise.