Designing for Mental Health at uXperience

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

Designing for Mental Health at uXperience

Runner up team of GBDA students and Sun Life representatives pose in front of the Wall that says "Congratulations Winners"

In November, the Stratford School hosted its annual uXperience Design Jam, where 100 post-secondary students from across Ontario came together to tackle the problem of managing mental health. Many young working professionals have mental health coverage as part of their health benefits, however many are not utilizing them.

The uXperience Design Jam gave Sun Life the opportunity to mentor student participants through their design process and witness innovative solutions for how design can be used to better connect with young Canadians who are facing mental health challenges before they’re in crisis.

The combination of business, creativity, and design at the Stratford School helps prepare students to address these real-world challenges that organizations face.

With students from Wilfrid Laurier, University of Toronto, and the University Waterloo, participants had the opportunity to practice teamwork, implement user-centred problem-solving and apply the practical skills learned in the classroom in a real-world environment.

design challenge overview

  Rob Williams, Assistant Vice President of User Experience (UX) Design at Sun Life, reflects, “The most meaningful part of the day for us was seeing how the various teams framed up the problem from a user-centred perspective, and just how invested they were in the challenge.” He continued,

"Given the economic impacts of the [mental health] issue, building empathy by getting closer to how millennials and Gen Zs experience and talk about mental health is critical for both employers and insurance companies like Sun Life."

“It was inspiring seeing so many teams come up with innovative ideas. This event reminded me of why I went into product design to begin with – to create services that evoke meaningful experiences.” notes Kendra Dizon, whose team created a project called MyESS (My Emotional Support System) that aimed to intervene in students' lives before crisis. My ESS was comprised of Helen Chan, Kendra Dizon, Christy Chan, Dani DeJong and Amy Li.

Helen commented that her mentor recommended her to sign up, illustrating the Stratford School at the University of Waterloo is a respected name in the UX space.

The Stratford School looks forward to celebrating its 10th uXperience design jam in 2023, to provide a space for students to tackle even more real-world problems together.