Values, voice and citizenship: co-design and evaluation of digital mental health interventions that promote human values
‘Digital mental health’ pertains to digital technology applications in mental health services. It encompasses tools for promoting, preventing, evaluating, treating, and managing mental health. These tools can stand alone or be integrated into traditional care pathways. As their usage grows, concerns over legal, ethical, and social aspects like transparency, data security, and accountability have arisen.
Ethical efforts have mainly responded to existing technology, but frameworks like value-sensitive design (Friedman, 1996) and design justice (Constanza-Chock, 2020) advocate for integrating moral values into the design process. This inclusion can clarify the political, social, and ethical values inherent in digital mental health tools, potentially reshaping practices. Research is needed to ensure that digital mental health design considers broader societal impacts and avoids reinforcing structural inequalities.
While most digital interventions target individual well-being, a rising field aims to enhance societal well-being by promoting values like empathy, justice, and trust. Thus, projects can focus on co-designing and testing tools that empower communities and uphold human values to promote mental health and well-being. Potential project areas include:
- Creating and testing methods to systematically incorporate values into the design of digital mental health tools.
- Exploring how the design of mental health tools interacts with societal factors to address or marginalise care for different groups.
- Developing ways to centre end-users' voices in designing and evaluating digital mental health tools.
- Co-designing interventions that promote human values and positive social impact, through cognitive and behavioural shifts.
RESEARCH EXPERIENCE, RESEARCH METHODS AND TRAINING
The student would shape their specific project according to their interests and expertise. Training might include:
- Co-production and participatory research
- Design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation in qualitative and quantitative research
- Theories and methods in bioethics and mental health science
- Value-sensitive design and related approaches
- Science communication.
FIELD WORK, SECONDMENTS, INDUSTRY PLACEMENTS AND TRAINING
Projects might be based in the UK or internationally, and external placements can be arranged to support the project. We have collaborations with research teams across the UK, Brazil, Germany, and the USA, as well as international organisations, charities, policymakers, and technology partners.
The ideal candidate would have experience of empirical research in bioethics, human-computer interaction, psychology, public health, social sciences, psychiatry, or related field. Experience of co-design and interdisciplinary working are desirable.