Getting the balance right: Young people's role in balancing the opportunities and issues emerging technologies provide for youth mental health services

Presentation First Author: 
Deepika Ratnaike
Abstract: is Australia’s leading online youth mental health service. It aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people by leveraging technology to deliver prevention and early-intervention services. Key to the organisations success has been its youth involvement model, including the extensive use of participatory design methods, which ensures young people are directly involved in the design and delivery of the its products and services. With 70 per cent of Australian young people in need not getting the mental health help they need, considers their role in the transformation of these services critical.

Smartphones are at the centre of an ever evolving technological landscape for young people. Not only is ownership increasing year on year but as their features evolve and other devices, such as wearable technology, use it as their main interface, young peoples use of the mobile phone is being integrated into every aspect of their everyday life. It was this accessibility and functionality which lent itself so well to the transformation of a previously web based behaviour change program, WorkOut, to Recharge the mobile app. But it was also this pervasive and diverse use by young people that raised a number of challenges such as intrusiveness and privacy.

This presentation will use Recharge as a case study in how the direct involvement of young peoples’ in design of the app was critical to identifying and overcoming some of these challenges in its development. It will also discuss the challenges faced by researchers and service providers as they are forced to balance often conflicting needs of ensuring the effectiveness of interventions through randomised controlled trials and the need to get the product out there before it is technologically obsolete or no longer conducive to young people’s everyday life. How these lessons have been used by in more recent developments to the core service and other products will also be discussed.

Conference Name: 
Date of Presentation: 
9th Oct 2015
Type of presentation: 
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