Going to university can be a challenging experience for many young people. Coping with a large number of changes, managing finances, and dealing with an increased workload all contribute towards students struggling with mental health issues during their time at university. My Mind applies the psychological ownership framework to help students manage their mental health more effectively and feel more confident tackling the problems they face.
Mental health negatively affects 47 per cent of university students in the UK.
Research and design a solution to help students manage their mental health and feel confident in tackling the challenges that they face.
factors that influence mental health
students’ attitudes towards it
medically approved ways to combat mental health problems
Three Step Research Process
users: 20 interviews with students
context: academic literature on managing mental health
existing ways to tackle issues: interview with a mental health advisor at Imperial College, tested popular well-being apps (Moodfit, Calm, Headspace), searched online forums
Student Interviews Key Findings
mental health is individual, everyone has to learn for themselves what works best
students don’t consider their well-being as something that needs to be actively taken care of
mental well-being is put on hold to prioritise social or work events, it is then hard to get back on track
Literature Research Key Findings
stress has a major negative impact on mental health
coping strategies are effective in minimising stress
the feeling of ownership over something is associated with a sense of stewardship and care
We found that there the students that struggle with mental health tend to have similar traits. We combined these common characteristics into a personal so that we can gain a perspective similar to our users. We decided to focus our design on these students as we can make the biggest impact there.
perfectionist, high-achieving students struggle most
school related stress is a major influencing factor
put mental health on hold for weeks on end
find it difficult to take meaningful breaks
School related stress is a major factor that influences students’ wellbeing. If other issues come up (such as family or relationship-related) they take precedent, but school is constant. That’s why we decided to focus on stress that comes with study pressure. Academic year is similar for the majority of students and as a result so is the stress. We made a journey map to identify the critical points.
Beginnings of term are usually more easy going and stress tend to increase with deadlines approaching. Students find it difficult to take breaks when they are burdened with workload and deadlines around the corner. They tend to take multiple short breaks that don’t help to unwind, but initially seem like less of a commitment. Our intervention should aid with taking meaningful breaks and it should be adopted before stressful workloads arrive, in a time when students have time to experiment.