I've been thinking a lot about Sinek’s idea of Start with Why
The GEMH lab is not just delivering a different package (i.e., video games instead of therapy or didactic mental health school programs). It's about a different way for young people to think about what they need, deserve, can attain. Our design process should come from an empowerment model that helps youth think about their role in choosing what products they most need to grow and flourish emotionally. Instead of providing products from a paternalistic “You’re broken and we scientists know what’s good for you” perspective, we want to engage and empower young peole to ask for what they need and choose the experience that best fits with those self-expressed emotional needs.
So what is our WHY? It’s about offerring young people choices that work best for them. It is proving a little tiresome for me to continue to tout the elitist approach that suggests that academics have all the answers. We don’t. The best interventions out there for anxiety / depression AT BEST help 40-60% of peole who seek help. And 80% of young people DON’T seek help. Doing it differently is about respecting youth enough to let them take the lead on what they know they need for their own emotional growth. It’s meeting young people in their spaces and aligning with their needs, aspirations, vulnerabilities and strengths so that we can provide them with a suite of tools from which they can choose. That’s our why.