For more than a year we have been living with the Coronavirus. Every day our society was made aware of the seriousness of the situation in hospitals and ICUs. A Corona policy has been created specifically to protect the older and vulnerable generation. The concerns about the physical health of the elderly in particular are understandable and justified. But what about the (mental) health of the younger generation who suffer from this policy? How does social isolation affect the development of their identity? And what happens to them when the daily routine totally disappears?
Nominee Drempelprijs Social Practices
The past five months I listened to and talked with a group of adolescents between the ages of 16-18. I organized a number of co-design sessions to get more into their world, listen to their stories, identify their obstacles and brainstorm about possible solutions with them. The outcome of these sessions showed that most of them dealt with a high level of stress, depressions, insecurities, loneliness, sadness and restlessness. Although they are eager to have their voices heard they find it difficult to put their feelings into words.
To give these students a way to discover and express their voice, I designed Talking Pebbles. Talking Pebbles is a conversation starter for adolescents that can be used during (care) talks to visualize the language around emotions. With the tool, you literally bring your emotions to the table. Each colored pebble stands for an emotion. In layers you can place your emotions in the grey base shape.
As soon as you place the colors in this main shape and scan the color palette with the camera in the Pebble app on your phone, the language around the placed emotion will pop up through Augmented Reality. I chose to design a part of the tool in an app because I noticed in the co-design session that the phone is a safe and comfortable space for many young people. By adding the smartphone, I want to lower the barrier to participate interactively in the conversation and use it as a positive and powerful tool. This way they can discover, try out and discuss which words match their feelings on their phone first before starting the conversation with their facility coach or mentor.