1. Integrated computer games and mobile apps to support structured delivery of mindfulness-based CBT in Schools.

Darragh McCashin, Host: UCD, Partners: NEPS [Secondment 6 months]
Darragh will extend the use of computer games to support widespread access to structured, evidence-based mental health interventions in school settings, delivered by school councillors or educational psychologists. Darragh will first undertake a review of the delivery of mental health services in school settings and shadow educational psychologists during their daily activities, including regular visits to schools, thereby gaining a deeper understanding of the needs of all stakeholders. Building on this understanding Darragh will develop preliminary guidelines for the design of technology-enabled mental health for school children. Darragh will design and develop a new, integrated therapeutic game and mobile app. It is envisioned that the game will be used to support face-to-face meetings/engagement between young people and healthcare supporters, with the mobile app used by young people between meetings to support learning transfer and therapeutic activities. Both the mobile app and game will emphasis and support mindfulness-based techniques to complement Cognitive Behavioural techniques. Stakeholders who participated in previous  activities will act as co-designers in this process (e.g. teachers, NEPS psychologists), which will follow an iterative, prototype driven, and user-centred design methodology.  Darragh will a conduct pilot study of the new computer game and mobile app – e.g. a small-scale randomised study with approximately 20-30 young people receiving the new intervention.

2. Accessible technology-enabled interventions to reduce auto-aggressive behaviours in youth.

Anja Čuš, Host: MUW, Partners: TUW [Ongoing], AF [Secondment 6 months]
Anja will build on the findings from a large-scale study currently identifying risk and resilience factors. Anja will conduct a systematic literature review on risk factors associated with auto-aggressive behaviours and will examine the potential of digital technology to extend the delivery of existing intervention programs. Anja will research and understand resilience strategies with a view to developing an early intervention program targeting at risk adolescents, but also supporting parental (mother or father) and caregiver involvement. Anja will translate this program into a proof-of-concept digital program to reduce auto-aggressive behaviour. Finally, Anja will evaluate the intervention in schools and community organisations providing support young people.

3. Adaptable games and gamification toolkit to support YMH interventions.

Hidde van der Meulen, Host: UCD, Partners: SAN [Secondment 3 months], OG [Secondment 3 months]
Hidde will develop a games and gamification toolkit that can be adapted to support a wide range of interventions
across distinctive social, gender and cultural backgrounds. Technically, it will integrate desktop, augmented reality, online and mobile gaming. Clinically, it will be adaptable to a range of theoretical intervention models (e.g. CBT, Solution Focused, Mindfulness-based or Narrative therapies) and disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, psychological trauma). Hidde will conduct a systematic literature review and interviews with up to 30 mental health professionals who have previously used computer games will give Hidde a detailed understanding of the mechanisms by which computer games and technology can improve clinical interventions. Hidde will interact with YMH service providers from a wide range of theoretical backgrounds and addressing diverse clinical conditions. They will interview additional therapists. Building on these findings Hidde will develop preliminary guidelines for the design of adaptable computer games to support YMH services. Hidde will gain firsthand industrial experience in games development.  Clinicians who participated in previous stages of this IRP will act as codesigners in this process, which will follow an iterative user-centred design methodology. Hidde will conduct a pilot evaluation of games developed with the new adaptable platform. Clinics and clinicians who participated in earlier stages will again participate in this evaluation, but we will also recruit new independent clinicians/clinics who did not participate in the design processes.

4. Computer and Smartphone-based Assessment of Cognitive Functioning in Affective Disorders in Young People.

Pegah Hafiz, Host: DTU, Partners: RHP [on-going], UCD [3 months]
This project will provide provide an integrated assessment platform for tracking cognitive functioning in young people with affective disorders. Ultimately, this will allow for early detection and diagnosis of mental health problems in young people and for early intervention and treatment based on a non-stigmatising smartphone platform. Pegah will work closely with clinicians accessing clinical knowledge on CBT and further understanding the requirements of youth psychiatry. Pegah will iteratively design and develop a cognative assessment platform for YMH and apply participatory design methods, working in close collaboration with clinicians and young users. Pegah will verify and improve the design in an international, clinical context. Finally Pegah will carry out a Clinical Proof-of-Concept (i.e. a non-randomized pilot test) of the platform with 20 users (age 16-25) in collaboration with fellow ESR, Mohammed Khwaja, and clinicians.

Our Network Partners

  • University College Dublin
  • Denmark Technical University
  • Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families
  • Region H Psychiatry
  • Technical University Vienna
  • ReachOut Ireland
  • Medical University Vienna
  • University of Glasgow
  • Telefonica Alpha