Designing Technology to Support Mental Wellbeing

From October 2011 to October 2014
Project Leader(s): Prof. Patrick Olivier, Prof. Peter Wright, Dr. Thomas Meyer (Institute of Neuroscience)
Sponsors: Microsoft Research, SiDE

This PhD project explores the role of digital technology and interaction design in supporting the well-being of individuals' suffering from mental illness such as clinical depression, borderline personality disorders or dementia. It aims to supplement existing health care practices in providing functionality that supports individuals' copings with emotional distress, helps them form and maintain positive interpersonal relationships, to foster a sense of self and identity and motivate engagement in activities that make life meaningful.

The research involves a number of projects ranging from formal community based settings to work with individuals who have completed programmes of CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) as well as hospital inpatients receiving DBT (dialictical behavioral therapy), alongside other health-supporting interventions.
As a first step, the PhD will develop a research framework and working definition of the multi-dimensional and complex concept of mental wellbeing. Considering the potentials and challenges associated with the design of computational artefacts to support individuals' wellbeing in the different scenarios, we will design tailored prototypes and digital devices and deploy these in small scale evaluations with end users.