Help design digital technologies for young people

Help design digital technologies for young people

Orygen Digital is the digital mental health division of Orygen. We’re always working to create new and better technology that genuinely helps young people who’ve struggled with their mental health to feel better and build the lives they want. We have a team of software engineers, psychologists, artists and peer workers who work together to develop these digital tools. 

Right now, we are working on building some new digital technologies to help young people who’ve had an experience of anxiety or depression. This includes a smartphone app and virtual reality applications specifically designed to help young people who get stuck in negative thoughts, sometimes called ‘rumination’, ‘worry’ or just ‘overthinking’.

Why are we conducting this workshop?

Because the smartphone app and virtual reality application are for young people with an experience of anxiety or depression who tend to get stuck in their thoughts, we need to speak to young people with this experience to understand how it should work for them.

Who are we looking for?

We are looking for young people who are:

  • aged between 16 and 25-years-old;
  • live in Australia;
  • have had some treatment for anxiety or depression;
  • have had some experience with getting stuck in negative thoughts; and
  • are interested in speaking with us about a smartphone app for helping with depression and anxiety.

We run regular workshops and one-on-one sessions with young people to hear their ideas and get feedback on prototypes. Where there is more interest than available spaces, young people will be selected to ensure there is diversity of perspectives and experiences within the group. Priority will also be given to young people who have had fewer opportunities to have their voices heard.

What is involved?

Your involvement will include being invited to one-off group workshops or one-on-one sessions. The workshop and sessions typically go for about one or two hours and will be conducted over Zoom, and sometimes in person at Orygen in Parkville. You can decide whether you want to be involved in any of the sessions and can be involved as much as you like.

You’ll be asked to participate in individual discussions, or in a group with up to five other young people, a researcher and a product designer about:

  • your day-to-day experiences with depression, anxiety and stuck thinking;
  • your experiences with treatment for depression, anxiety and stuck thinking, and the things that have been more or less helpful; and
  • your opinions and ideas for how a smartphone app or virtual reality application might be able to help you get unstuck from negative thinking.

You might also be shown videos of prototypes or be able to try them out in person or on your own smartphone to give feedback on what they’re like to use

After the workshop, we’ll ask if you’re willing for us to keep your contact details in case opportunities come up for further sessions that you might like to be part of. It’ll be completely up to you to decide whether you’d be happy to be contacted by us in the future or not.

why get involved?

We hope the new technologies that we develop will have a real impact on young people struggling with depression and anxiety. Your input will help us make sure that they are as helpful as it can be.

While this is primarily a volunteer role, you’ll receive an honorarium of $30 per hour to cover costs associated with participating in the sessions.

Outcomes of the project

We are working towards developing full working prototype of the technologies that you are providing input into. We then need to test whether they are safe and effective for young people to use, so we will then conduct a research study where young people can try it out. If we get positive results, we expect that the technologies we develop will be made publicly available within the next few years.

We will publish regular updates about the project on the Orygen website so that everyone can keep up to date. We will also publish the findings of the research study in scientific journals so that the broader field can learn from this work. We would like to give credit to the youth participants in these publications, if they are comfortable.


If you’re interested, please complete the form below and someone from the team will be in touch.

If you would like some more information, you can contact Imogen Bell, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, e-Orygen, at [email protected]. You can also contact Lauren Brain, Youth Participation Project Officer, at [email protected] or 0474 418 412.

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