Cristina Perea del Olmo
Title: Supporting help-seeking and recommendations for mental health in young adults
Description: Seeking help is a critical first step in addressing mental health difficulties. Evidence suggests that positive help-seeking experiences contribute to an increased likelihood of future help-seeking and to improved mental health outcomes. Increasingly help-seeking now starts online. However, help-seeking is a complex process. This project will address known limitations of current online help-seeking technologies, including a tendency towards information overload, medicalized recommendations, and a lack of personalization. It will focus on the help-seek needs of young adults aged 18-25 and will be undertaken in collaboration with national youth mental health organisations. The aim is to develop guided help-seeking technologies, including voice and chat-based agent systems, social help-seeking technologies, and conversational recommender systems. The research will be guided by past research that has emphasised the importance of four key design considerations: support for different levels of human connectedness, accessible and trustworthy information, personalisation that respects autonomy, and the need for immediacy. From a theoretical perspective, it will explore how traditional models of help-seeking can be integrated with theories of information search and of engagement in Human-Computer Interaction.