PROBLEM: How to proactively help men who don't think they need mental health support?
SOLUTION: Create a platform for men to socialise and set group health, fitness and work goals.
This project was a Hackathon to assist a new NGO, MAN.ORG, in their work to proactively prevent suicide in men. Male suicide rates are alarming high, statistically an Australian man commits suicide every 3 hours.
Many NGOs are tackling this issue, but very few initiatives are taking a proactive stance. We were given two days to create a working prototype that could help them perform this work.
Right away I identified some major hurdles:
With only 48 hours to deliver a prototype there was no time for extensive research. Myr approach was to identify the most effective programs currently in place and see if there was a way we can augment them digitally.
This lead me to the ‘Men’s Shed’ programs which have proven to be effective in bringing men together to support and assist each other.
This is further supported by my research into the concept of ‘The Third Place’ coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. The ‘Third Place’ refers to a space that is not the home and not work, but a place where people can be social and feel safe to pursue community building activities. This sort of space has proven to be effective for improving community bonds and mental health.
My solution was to create a web app that allowed men to form groups and set team goals and events. A strong sense of camaraderie has seen many men through their darkest hours and we believe that it can work effectively here.
Being a web app it is also more easily accessible, and I believe that encouraging men to support each other would be more effective than prompting a man individually. Men are also quite task and goal orientated which we think this leverages quite well.
The ‘Third Place’ app will be a platform that men can come together to set goals and support each other. It is a positive and safe space, where the focus is not on preventing depression, but to help each other be the best version of themselves.
The platform is designed for men to organize into small close knit groups, they will be someone designated as the administrator and they will have access to a dashboard that will allow them to set group goals and events.
Each member will also have their own control panel to monitor their goal progress and active events or challenges. We also added a self reporting feature where they can update how their feeling in the 3 core areas of fitness, mental health and professional goals. These values are the three pillars that MAN.ORG would like to focus on so this ties the platform to their organisation very well.
The key to this self reporting though is that the results are only for the user to see and no one else. Instead the figures contribute to an overall group score so people can see how the group is doing as a whole.
What this means is that users don’t have to feel pressured or be singled, but at the same time can make any issues known so that it can be addressed.
Use the link below for a copy of our presentation