Learn Co-Designing: Students leading students on Thought Spot

Published on July 27th, 2017 | from CAMH Education

Co-Designing: Students leading students on Thought Spot

by Jenny Shi, Thought Spot practicum student

Lubb dupp! Lupp dupp! Her heart frantically hammered against her rib cage as her hands reached out to push open the mahogany doors. It was getting harder to breathe with each passing moment. Friends, work, school, life– they had all blurred together in a giant mess that was tumbling down in pieces. Time, money, and a fear of uncertainty were things that only added to the pressure…

This is the story of a Thought Spot user!

Although 100 per cent fictional, stories like this one, shared by students, are what inspired the development of Thought Spot.

Hi—my name is Jenny Shi. I’m a Master of Public Health candidate from Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry working on the Thought Spot project.

Thought Spot is an interactive map of health, mental health, and wellness resources within the GTA.The goal of Thought Spot is to facilitate better discovery of and access to those resources.

Thought Spot illustration by Jenny Shi

What makes the Thought Spot project unique is that it is an online and mobile resource developed by students for students. From the get-go, students were involved in the design process, key aspects of the associated RCT and numerous crowdsourcing workshops. I had the most amazing opportunity to work with students and colleagues to co-design and facilitate the crowdsourcing workshops.

In these workshops, we asked students to see mental health from another perspective, challenged them to reflect on their own barriers, and explored the meaning of wellness. Brainstorming together, students also contributed to Thought Spot, providing information on spots (services, resources, locations, websites or apps) that they had discovered and found useful.

I won’t say it was easy—it was a lot of hard work! BUT, it was one of the best feelings in the world seeing those hours that we’d all put in since the very beginning of our practicums come to fruition.

It was also my role at CAMH Education to capture and evaluate this unique collaboration between researchers and students. Central to the task came the reviewing of hundreds of academic articles on participatory action research and ventures into the unfamiliar field of agriculture (a story for another time). It was challenging, but I think that’s what made evaluation the best part of my practicum at CAMH!

Find out more about Thought Spot by visiting our website at: mythoughtspot.ca and you can join our community on Twitter (@mythoughtspot) and on Facebook (MyThoughtSpot) to stay in the loop for future updates and releases.


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