The Research Council of Norway #269438
Young people with mild or moderate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression constitute the fastest growing group on welfare benefits in Norway. Only 65% of youth with minority backgrounds are in schooling or employed compared to 86% of ethnic Norwegian youth. At the same time, immigrant youth tend to have weaker social capital than natives.
This project merges state-of-the-art e-health research and tools with the social entrepreneurship models Catalysts and Fretex to support immigrant youth. A main goal is to strengthen social capital which is associated with better health, education, and employment. R@W combines three components in a secure virtual environment: mentoring, peer-support, and a tailorable self-help toolbox. R@W; 1) incorporates e-health, Appreciative Inquiry, and resiliency research into its content and functionality, 2) applies emerging technology and design approaches (e.g., positive computing, persuasive technology, gamification) that can boost user engagement and learning, 3) facilitates links to community.
During interviews and focus groups, youth have reported needs for the mentoring program itself such as boosting social inclusion and the alignment of expectations between mentors and mentees. Regarding technology, they emphasize a desire for high levels of security, often telling of unfortunate experiences on social media.
Primary and secondary objectives
Our primary objective is an ICT-organizational platform that contributes to strengthened social capital and resilience among newly arrived immigrant youth. To achieve this, four work packages (WP) with secondary objectives and respective research questions (RQs) are conducted:
1) Develop an ICT-facilitated mentoring model that enhances the value of mentoring for youth and their mentors.
2) Develop a tailorable 'toolbox' of resources integrated in the R@W platform that engage youth in building skills and self-esteem and that can provide a sense of progression towards healthy community attachments.
3) Create a peer-to-peer support arena that young people find safe, engaging and that mobilizes their own resources socially both online and offline.
4) Pilot test to assess the potentials and pitfalls of the combined R@W platform for 6 months in terms of reach, feasibility, acceptability and implementation, also as a social entrepreneurship by and for young people.
This 3-year project is led by The Department of Digital Health Research (DIG) at Oslo University Hospital. Partners include Catalysts Technology, Fretex, Norwegian Labor and Welfare Administration (NAV), Norwegian Center for eHealth Research, and Halmstad University, Sweden and NORCE-Samfunn.