Greater accessibility to help children and young people with mental illness through digital and flexible services.
‘Many children and young people with mental illness feel that they are being passed on from one place to another, where someone else sets the rules and makes the decisions.’ From the 2014 report Bryt tystnaden (Breaking the Silence) by the Ombudsman for Children in Sweden.
In recent years, there have been many reports that indicate that mental illness seems to be increasing among children and young people. At the same time, far from everyone who suffers from mental illness seeks help. As the number of people with mental illness increases, there is a need for new healthcare interventions that make use of the fact that young people today are ‘digital natives’ and raised in a time when digitalisation is a natural part of everyday life.
First Line (Första linjen) in the Karlstad area (Forshaga, Grums, Hammarö, Karlstad and Kil) started in early 2015 and is aimed at children and young people aged 6–20 with mild to moderate mental health problems and/or hazardous substance use. The clinic is owned by the County Council and the municipality to minimise the risk of gaps between different activities and areas of responsibility.
Experio Lab and First Line began their collaboration by participating together in a hackathon during the Digital Health Days in summer 2014. An idea was born to continue working together to develop First Line in Karstad.
The purpose of the project has been to create conditions for a First Line service that meets young people on their terms with the help of user involvement and design methodology.
The goals of the project have been to:
An important starting point is utilising the fact that young people are ‘digital natives’ by making use of their mobile habits with services that are customised, flexible and accessible.
The project started in the spring of 2015 and ran until the end of 2016. In the spring of 2015, Experio Lab conducted design training with the staff of First Line, where they got to try various design methods and tools to increase their interest in, and knowledge of, how to use design in their development work. Starting in the fall of 2015, a design team, consisting of service designers and healthcare professionals, conducted a joint research project to identify young people’s needs and behaviours. The analysis clearly pointed to the need for early, preventative efforts to increase knowledge about mental illness and to make it easier to seek help.
In 2016, the focus was on generating ideas, prototypes and developing new concepts together with young people. This resulted in a concept for an online service that will make the first contact with First Line more easily accessible and secure. In August 2016, expertise in interaction design and software development was required to take the prototype further. To solve this, the design bureau Ocean Observations was hired to develop a beta version of the online service.
A number of different activities have been carried out in the project, which contribute to greater innovation capacity and knowledge transfer from Experio Lab to First Line.
The online service hurmårdu.nu, which gives young people an easy and accessible way to get in contact with First Line and helps them to formulate their issues in a convenient way so that First Line quickly and safely can offer the support they need. Young people have been involved in all parts of the development process, from mapping and prioritising needs to idea generation and concept development. The next step is to implement the online service in the activities of First Line, at the same time as it is being further developed.