TEAM (Technology Enabled Mental Health for Young People), is a 4-year Innovation Training Network (ITN), funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions initiative. There has been considerable research and many commercial products for improving physical health. However, the use of technology to support mental health lags far behind. The aim of the training network is to deliver new applications and technologies that support rapid, large-scale early assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health issues in young people.

As part of the TEAM project, the HCI group focus on design and evaluation of technology-enabled programs that empower young people and help them to build resilience and care for their own mental health, thus reducing the incidence of mental health difficulties.

While incidence of mental health difficulties generally is increasing, incidence for youth from a refugee migrant background is even higher. Unaccompanied boys and girls, such as those fleeing Syria, are at particular risk of mental health issues, including attempted suicide and self-harm. The challenge is not just how to treat such youth once mental health issues manifest, it is how to implement prevention strategies that are evidence-based, but also fit into their specific life worlds. Thus, as part of the project an in-depth understanding of the lived experience, needs and opportunities for prevention programs delivery for unaccompanied migrant youths in Austria through an ethnographic study of their contexts, the role of technology, and how they might be engaged with prevention strategies, will be gained. One outcome of the research will be a framework and set of design implications for technology development: how technologies can be used to deliver (and, if needed, re-interpret) existing evidence-based strategies around resilience and positive coping strategies for this high-risk user group.

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SCHAUKASTEN - Sehförderung für Kleinkinder (1.12.2016 - 31.1.2018), financed by: Hauptverband der österreichischen Sozialversicherungsträger

SCHAUKASTEN seeks to conceptualize, co-design and implement novel interactive toys that motivate young children with visual impairments to keep up with their often dull but crucially important optical exerices.

Children with distinct visual impairment shall exercise their vision as soon as possible in order not to go blind. This exercise in vision constitutes an important building block for later leading an autonomous life.

Unfortunately, these exercise can often be little engaging and boring for the effected children and their parents or caregivers.

Therefore, SCHAUKASTEN seeks novel ways into motivating these children to do their exercises by supporting them with engaging and interactive exercise elements. During training, children shall be motivated by interactive toys to focus and endure as long as optimal. At the same time, parents and caregivers shall be relieved from challenges in motivating the children.

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