Our project focuses on improving and understanding mental health problems on campus.
We started by investigating the issue, and instead of finding support from faculty members ran into issues about patient confidentiality and sensitivity around a subject currently in the national media.
Our first idea
Our first thought was to create some sort of physical item that could be distributed to all students.
This would be an iD or iphone case holder and would include a tactile element, when you rubbed it or pressed into it it would calm you down.
After some initial test cases we realized that most students wouldn't want simply a "squishy" phone case. This wasn't addressing the problem any more than telling students they should calm down was.
We borrowed some ideas from a prexisting product that measures heart rate and encourages the user to calm down when stressed out.
This idea was too expensive, and the product idea we were hoping to build off of didn't work in practice. No body felt calmer after using the product, in fact most felt more stressed because of the difficulty of the learning curve.
Our Original Mission:
How Can We give people with mental health issues more independence and control over their situation?
New Goal: How can we help students form meaningful connections with other students and avoid feeling isolated?
Solo Cups, the idea would be to put red cups in he dinning hall. Those people up to chatting with someone new would choose a red cup to signal to others taht they could be approaced. This could help students meet new people and feel less isolated without needing to feel extroverted.
We tested our idea out with paper bands that could fit around the cups, instead of having to buy entirely new cps.
We had a hard time recruiting volunteers, and it was such a new concept that nobody was willing to try it.
We have seen similar products work at schools like Dartmouth, and know that with a little tweaking, and maybe some more student support (spoonsoring by diff groups) this idea could help solve the mental health problem on campus.