What if taking care of your mental health was as routine and accepted as looking after your physical fitness?
//User Research, Concept Development
Mental health services are essential in order to help returning veterans recover from their military service and re-adjust to civilian life; however, too often veterans go undiagnosed or suffer in silence. The VA Palo Alto Health Care System asked us to help design new solutions that reimagine and improve the pathways to mental health services for the veterans they serve.
Project: Swift, a wearable that tracks both your physical and mental fitness through biometric tracking and daily check-ins
Collaborators: Sherman Leung, Urvi Gupta
Context: Developed as part of the d.school course "Design for Health: Helping Patients Navigate the System"
2 expert interviews with VA national program managers
4 need-finding user interviews with veterans
4 feedback sessions with experts and users around 5 prototypes
One week long study with final prototype concept with 3 veterans to gauge efficacy
Some users perceive the VA as a military institution rather than a healthcare provider, and this creates is a psychological barrier to reaching out to the VA
Mental health diagnoses can seem more like hoops to jump through rather than an open door into care
Some veterans consider PTSD to be be so shameful they would rather be diagnosed as alcoholics, drugs abusers, etc. rather than victims of PTSD